To help choose a broker, we compared 39 ASIC regulated Australian forex brokers. The best forex broker Australia May 2021 winners were based on brokerage, customer service and the top forex trading platforms.
Our May 2021 best forex broker Australia list is.
The Pepperstone Razor Account offers Australian forex traders with the best trading experience with:
The award-winning razor account that Pepperstone offers straight-through processing (STP) with no dealing desk intervention. Liquidity is sourced from up to 22 major banks across the globe and dark liquidity pools. The result is the lowest spreads on certain major forex pairs, including the EUR/GBP, USD/JPY and EUR/USD.
Data taken from broker website. Accurate as at 07/05/2021
Based on May 2021 average spreads, broker commissions and current forex crosses, a trader can determine the primary fees. The below forex brokerage calculator compares Pepperstone to other leading brokers across the major currency pairs.
As mentioned above, commissions are a major part of the calculations above. For Australian forex traders that use the Australian Dollar (AUD) base currency, the commission rates are shown below, highlighting Pepperstone’s low commission rates.
To further assist traders, Pepperstone uses Price Improvement Technology (PPI). PPI 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 its execution) the PPI technology detects the movement and when possible, fills the order at the improved level. Meaning you can receive an improved price with no re-quoting required.
Pepperstone combines smart technology with low spreads + commissions.
Pepperstone also offers a standard account for beginner traders with no commissions. Check out our Standard vs Razor account comparison if you’re unsure which one to choose. Both account types offer the option for online trading across 13 stock indices. There are no commissions and no dealing desk when trading index CFDs.
Pepperstone claims the fastest execution speeds of <30ms once a trade is received. This was tested using the demo accounts of the leading brokers across 25 trades. As shown below, when it comes to market orders, Pepperstone’s average speed was 85ms.
Pepperstone achieves these results for Australian traders thanks to two factors:
One of the key issues for Australian traders is the distance between the country and the trading hubs being either in New York or London. Slow internet connections between continents mean that latency can be experienced when fx trading leading to ‘slippage’ (being 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.
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-centres, but is also located less than 18 kilometres from Wall Street.
Edge technology has created new tools for existing platforms like MetaTrader, such as ‘one-click-trading’ that ensures that as soon as a trade is made it goes straight to the forex market with no dealing desk or other external interference that may delay the trade.
Pepperstone offers Australians the choice of the three most popular fx trading platforms globally.
The MetaTrader 4 (MT4) forex platform is the most popular forex trading software worldwide due to its ease of use, charting, and the ability to execute trades easily. The tool speciality is currency trading with MT4 features including:
Compare MT4 Brokers >>
MetaTrader 5 (MT5) is similar to MT4 in many ways, but focuses on CFD trading with access provided to stock markets. 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:
Compare MT5 Brokers >>
Primarily used by expert Australian forex traders, the cTrader forex platform is commonly used by day-traders. Expert strategies that utilise automation (cBots) are executed for financial services with other features:
Compare cTrader >>
Most fx brokers in Australia don’t offer the choice of all three forex platforms. Below you can see the main forex brokers in Australia and which of the three mainstream platforms they offer.
All forex platforms offered by Pepperstone have a demo account. I load each demo account with $50,000 of virtual funds to simulate forex markets and practise trading strategies. Your demo account can be transitioned to a live account at any time. To learn more about forex demo accounts, you can view our demo trading account page.
Pepperstone also offers smart trader tools on the MetaTrader 4 platform when an initial deposit of at least AUD $500 is made. The 10 smart trading applications give MT4 traders additional technical indicators and Expert Advisor tools, helping you trade smarter with detailed insights into forex markets. The tools assist forex trading with expert trade execution and management, advanced alarms, decision assistance as well as broadcast features providing information on the currency market to traders.
Pepperstone is a relatively new Australian forex broker compared to some global players, but has quickly gained a dominant market share in Australia and around the world. The online broker has a strong customer service team in Australia with representatives who trade themselves, making them an excellent choice for intermediate to expert traders.
This was acknowledged when an Investment Trends survey of 15,000 Australian forex traders ranked Pepperstone number 1 in:
Pepperstone’s Australia customer support team is based in Melbourne. Traders can speak with an overseas customer support team during off-peak periods such as Friday night. The main forms of customer support including:
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 way 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 email contact. While this is the slowest way to send enquiries and get a response, it’s useful for long enquiries that require attachments.
Pepperstone Group Limited is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) with an AFSL number 414530. Our forex broker Australia comparison of leverage found they offer the highest level up to 500:1. 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 margin before trading forex.
Pepperstone offers the best trading experience based on their competitive spreads and fees, execution speed, customer support levels and the forex platform and enhancement offered.
Pepperstone has the best customer service, speed and trading platforms.
Australia traders with an intermediate to expert level of experience are recommended to choose Pepperstone.
Full Review Of Pepperstone >>Visit Pepperstone >>
The overall rating is based on review by our experts
IC Markets offer low fees for Aussie traders across:
The most traded currency pair worldwide is the EUR/USD and IC Markets offer the lowest spread for the pairing when compared to other top forex brokers. It also has the lowest spread for most popular forex pairs, including GBP/USD and EUR/GBP. Overall, IC Markets had the lowest average spreads of any broker worldwide.
The spreads above are applicable for the broker’s popular Raw Spread account (formally known as the true ECN account) for MetaTrader 4 or MetaTrader 5. IC Markets archives ultra-tight forex spreads by not operating as a market maker and instead having STP with large liquidity pools. While IC Markets do not call the Raw forex account a true ECN account, the spreads are determined by the market which is why the broker offers minimum spreads of 0.0 pips for over 10 currency pairs including the EUR/USD, GBP/USD and AUD/USD.
As shown above, the commission fees for IC Markets raw account are $3.50 per lot, per side. If the base currency of your trading account is set as the Australian dollar, you’ll pay commission fees of AUD $3.50 while those with the US dollar as their account base currency pay a higher commission rate of USD $3.50.
The third main online trading cost is deposit and withdrawal fees. IC Markets mostly charge no deposit and withdrawal fees, but require you to make an initial minimum deposit of a $200. This applies to 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 a $20 fee for international wire transfers. Overall, IC Markets do not directly charge deposit or withdrawal fee, making them one of the lowest fee brokers.
IC Markets is the lowest spread Australian forex broker offering the choice of MT4, MT5 or cTrader trading platforms. The broker has the AFSL number 335692 and is also regulated by CySEC in Cyprus and the FSA in the Seychelles.
With ECN spreads and commissions, IC Markets have the lowest forex fees.
The broker is recommended for individuals looking to trade forex with the lowest brokerage costs. To open an account, a minimum initial deposit of USD $200 is required.
Compare Broker Spreads >>Visit IC Markets >>
Markets.com is an ASIC regulated broker that offers a great selection of trading tools to help you with strategy development and risk management.
As a market maker, Markets.com forex trading is commission-free, with tight spreads as low as 0.6 pips for major fx pairs like the EUR/USD. In addition to forex, you can trade over 2,200 different financial products, ranging from major stock markets to cryptocurrencies and blends:
You can choose between four different trading platforms. Markets.com offer two proprietary trading platforms that provide you access to the broker’s full product range. Marketsx for forex and CFD trading, and Marketsi for share CFD trading and portfolio development.
If you prefer MetaQuotes Software, both MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) are available, yet you can only trade forex, commodities and indices.
Along with full market access, the multi-asset platform provides extensive sentiment, technical and fundamental analysis tools to help you develop trading strategies while managing the high risk of forex trading.
The broker’s share CFD trading platform offers tools designed for portfolio development and diversification. You can trade Markets.com full CFD range, while using two primary tools to create diversified portfolios:
If you are looking to fully automate trading, MT4 and MT5 offer algorithmic trading tools where you can write your own trading robots (aka Expert Advisors), or download tried and tested EAs from the MetaTrader Marketplace online.
Both platforms also provide advanced technical and fundamental analysis tools with an inbuilt charting package, alerts and notifications, and an economic calendar (MT5 only).
The ASIC regulated broker is a top choice for all types of traders who are looking for tight commission-free spreads. You can choose between four quality trading platforms, but to gain access to the broker’s full product range of over 2,200 CFDs and the unique sentiment and analysis tools, you will need to use Markets.com proprietary trading platforms, Marketsx.
View Markets.com Review >>Visit Markets.com >>
Those looking to utilise automation such as Expert Advisors (EAs) should consider FP Markets based on the Australian forex brokers:
The most important feature of the best forex broker for scaling is execution speed. Investment Trades compared the best forex brokers in Australia and awarded FP Markets the fastest with 39 milliseconds recorded in September 2020. This aligned to testing done across the top broker demo accounts, that also showed the fastest results for FP Markets using limit order execution.
FP Markets offer a raw account that requires a $100 minimum deposit requirement and provides you access to ECN spreads + AUD $3.50 commission per side ($7 round turn). Australian traders can choose between MetaTrader 4 or MetaTrader 5, with the latter more suited to share CFD trading.
Examples of forex pairs with raw minimum spreads from 0.0 pips include:
To achieve ECN-style pricing FP Markets connects with top-tier liquidity providers while using no dealing desk execution, providing retail investor accounts with a professional trading environment. When using the IRESS trading platform, traders will have access to DMA execution, meaning you can access the full ‘depth of market’ for prices.
As well as some of the lowest spreads available, FP Markets has a reputation for excellent customer support. The broker’s award-winning customer service teams can be contacted via phone, email or live chat 24 hours a day, 5 days a week and offer efficient, multi-lingual support. They also offer excellent market intel, including advanced technical analysis.
Compare ECN Brokers >>Visit FP Markets >>
Plus500 is an Australian Securities and Investments Commission regulated CFD provider that allows traders to utilise extensive risk management tools. As well as various order types and segregated client funds, Plus500 ensures your losses are limited by providing negative balance protection, a feature offered by a few Australian providers.
When online trading CFDs with Plus500, customers gain access to a user-friendly trading platform, a range of financial instruments and advanced tools to manage the high risk of CFD trading.
The Australian Investment Trends report awarded Plus500 the best platform with:
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 contracts for difference tradable.
The trading of contract for differences comes with a high risk of losing money, Plus500 customers can use different order types to ensure profits are maximised and loses are minimised.
View the beginner broker page to compare this feature to other providers that cater to those new to trading forex.
To ensure customers do not lose more than their trading account balance, Plus500 offers negative balance protection. Although a requirement for FCA and ESMA regulated brokers in the UK and Europe, Australian financial authorities do not require brokers to provide such guaranteed protections.
Only a handful of Australian financial providers (i.e. Plus500 and easyMarkets) offer negative balance protection. This ensures traders never lose more than their deposit, no matter what the trading conditions or trading volume. Additional investor protection received as a Plus500 customer includes:
Plus500AU PTY LTD is the CFD provider’s subsidiary that follows ASIC regulation subsidiary for Australian forex traders holding the AFSL number 417727. They are regulated in several other locations such as South Africa (FSCA), NZ (FMA) and the UK with an FCA licence (formally FSA).
Compare Beginner Platforms >>Visit Plus500 >>
eToro offers specialist services suitable for some individuals looking for:
eToro has a unique trading platform with inbuilt social trading tools. With over 300 million trades executed on the eToro platform, there is a large community that interacts with one another on their social network. This allows traders to discuss strategies, ideas and decisions on their social feed. The social trading functionality exists on both the desktop and mobile platform.
eToro offers copy trading tools so individuals can make the same trades as the individual selected. This trading strategy means the same profit or loss percentage will be achieved, and that past performance isn’t always a good indication of future performance. The reason eToro has the most popular copy trading facility is that traders are rewarded when others follow them and copy their trading strategies.
eToro offers a range of CFDs including 17 cryptos including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple as well as ETFs, indices, stocks, currencies and commodities. These are all tradable on the broker’s proprietary trading platform with varying leverage.
If social trading is important to you or you want to copy a past trader, then eToro is the Australian best broker for you. Note that eToro has some unique fees, including withdrawal charges that should be considered before joining the broker.
View eToro Review >>Visit eToro >>
CMC is an all-in-one broker ideal for day trading with:
Some day traders don’t want one provider for share trading and another for online forex trading. CMC Markets offer both services in Australia with a wide range of markets and is the logical choice for day traders. Not only does CMC Markets offer stockbroking services, but the fee structure to trade shares is also one of the lowest as shown below.
CMC Markets also offers futures trading, commodity trading, and foreign exchange trading. The CFD trading options with CMC Markets suit most forex trading strategies on their trading platform. Algorithmic trading is allowed, and the margin requirement on major currency pairs is 0.2%. In terms of fundamental analysis, CMC Markets provide complimentary forex news.
CMC Markets was founded in 1989 and is present in the trading industry both in Australia, the UK and other key markets. They offer a free demo account that can you can compare to other providers on the link below.
View CMC Markets Review >>Visit Broker >>
The most popular forex brokerage trading firm in Australia, based on the range of markets, accessibility, popularity and ease of use is, IG Markets. By having the highest Australian forex exchange market share across retail traders, IG can offer a wide range of options including:
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.).
On the most popular currency pairs, the AUDUSD and EURUSD the minimum spread is 0.6 pips. However, since IG offers a variable spread model, the real spread widens being affected by:
The hallmark of the variable spread model is that you trade commission-free spreads. 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, study the table below.
For sophisticated investors, IG offers Direct Market Access trading accounts (DMA) with no market maker or 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 commission fees are quite high and in the long-term, can eat away at 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.
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.
Largest Foreign Exchange Brokers >>Visit IG >>
City Index’s parent company, GAIN Capital, is a public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), providing an additional layer of transparency. The provider offers both variables and fixed spreads depending on what underlying asset traded. This includes indices, commodities, interest rates and bonds. Below shows example fixed spreads which don’t change based on the market conditions, unlike variable spreads.
While City Index is the leading Australian fixed spread forex broker, it also offers leading variable spreads for cryptocurrency CFD trading. Cryptos that can be traded include:
When placed side-by-side against other Australian-based brokers, only CMC Markets has more 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.
The City Index trading platform allows cryptocurrency trading with up to 4:1 leverage, fast execution speeds, no commissions and low spreads including the following:
The most popular cryptocurrency in 2021, this blockchain technology allows diversification from traditional financial markets. The market capitalisation in 2021 is over $65 billion USD and has become one of the most traded elements on the market.
Learn more on this Bitcoin website.
Now the third most valuable cryptocurrency (Ripple is 2nd at the start of 2021), this serves more industries and purposes, giving it a competitive edge. Key uses of Ethereum include blockchain application platforms through to smart contracts.
Learn more on this Ethereum Project website.
“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.
Discover more on the official Dash website.
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 margin on mainstream cryptocurrencies, City Index enhances the potential profits or losses of this volatile sector.
It’s important to understand that the trading strategy of trading crypto CFDs is not the same as owning cryptocurrency as shown below.
City Index offers some of the lowest cryptocurrency trading fees starting with spreads from:
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.
Compare CFD Trading Platforms >>Visit City Index >>
High volume retail investors are eligible for special privileges depending on the forex exchange broker. Saxo Bank (also known as Saxo Markets) offers the leading VIP account for those with a minimum deposit of AUD 1,500,000. Below shows a Saxo Bank trading account comparison.
Below goes through three key VIP account benefits in more detail.
As the spread table below highlights, VIP trading account has the lowest spreads of any Saxo Bank trading account. These are not average spreads but published minimum spreads for their non-commission account. This means the true spread may be higher depending on market conditions. Generally, VIP spreads are competitive against other non-commission spread accounts.
VIP account holders ($1.5m requirement) receive invitations to events and exclusive hospitality in Australia. They also can receive tickets to some of the best Australian events, ranging from music to sport.
Australian forex traders who open a VIP account with Saxo Bank get access to key personnel. This includes a personal relationship manager and sales manager. Traders also get access to senior management and the Australian market strategist Eleanor Creagh.
Overall, Saxo Bank VIP account has low spreads (non-commission account), advanced perks and superior support. For those who have AUD $1.5 million and are looking for these benefits, Saxo Bank is recommended.
Saxo Bank Review >>Visit Saxo Bank >>
As the second-largest retail foreign exchange broker based in the USA, FXCM has an ASIC regulated forex broker subsidiary in Australia. Trading under ‘FXCM AU’ or ‘FXCM Australia’ the broker offers the following forex trading platforms:
Below compares the three forex platforms offers by some key features Aussie brokers may require.
Australian traders with FXCM receive a free Virtual Private Server (VPS) when trading volume exceeds 500k. The advantages of a VPS is that traders can switch off their computer and still have automation (Expert Advisors) run. It also allows access to MetaTrader 4 even without the platform installed, and can enhance trading speeds.
The FXCM VPS offer doesn’t apply to demo accounts, and the 500k per month needs to be the average over the 3 months. The cost of the VPS service is reimbursed to traders at the start of each month.
Leverage offered when trading with MetaTrader 4 depends on the equity level. Smaller accounts of less than $20,000 AUD can trader with 400:1 leverage or 200:1 for CFDs. For larger trading accounts, the forex leverage is halved to 100:1. Even at 100:1 this leverage can lead to high risk, and it’s important to understand the risks involved before you start trading.
Overall, MetaTrader 4 is the most popular forex trading platform, and if you are looking for Australia software, FXCM is a solid choice. You can visit the broker below or view our comparison page for the best MT4 brokers in Australia.
Compare MT4 Brokers >>Visit FXCM >>
Find the leading Aussie ECN broker based on spreads and speeds.
Compare brokers offering CFD trading across a range of instruments and markets.
View the top platforms for foreign exchange market trading.
MetaTrader 4 is the best forex trading platform Australia software with 50% market share. Pepperstone is the best MT4 broker based on spreads, superior trading experience, and customer service.
MetaTrader 5 is the next most popular platform and the best CFD trading platform. Those looking to trade share CFDs should choose an MT5 broker with IC Markets recommended.
The full list of trading software and top brokers can be viewed on our top 10 forex trading platform comparison.
Australian traders should ask the following questions:
A list of ASIC regulated broker page helps find the best broker by each of these categories.
Plus500 is recommended for beginner forex traders based on the easy-to-use forex platform (including demo account), customer service, and low minimum initial deposit of $100. The broker also offers negative balance protection, ensuring a novice trader doesn’t lose more than their deposit.
You can also view our list of beginner forex trading platforms.
Negative balance protection is offered by the following ASIC regulated brokers:
Our negative balance protection comparison lists the top Australian foreign exchange brokers with this feature.
To help you start trading with the right broker, we have collated Australian forex 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.
Forex traders can choose between IC Markets, FP Markets, IG who all have key strengths with the best overall 2021 Australian forex broker currently Pepperstone.
Australian traders should only consider regulated brokers to avoid scams that are normally associated with unregulated brokers. In April 2020, ASIC announced forex trading changes, including reduced leverage from 29th of April 2021. A comprehensive list of regulated forex brokers Australia updated in 2021 is below.
While the ASIC regulated forex broker table above only has 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 providers such as GO Markets, Fusion Markets, AvaTrade and Vantage FX 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 a higher level of security. If you’re located outside of Australia (such as the USA) these brokers may not be able to cater for you, and other regulators brokers such as NFA are more suitable.
It’s worth noting that all trading with leverage has a high level of risk, which you should understand the high risks of before you start trading. Our risk disclaimer is CFDs, exchange derivatives to crypto trading,
Justin Grossbard has been investing for the past 20 years and writing for the past 10. He co-founded Compare Forex Brokers in 2014 after working with the foreign exchange trading industry for several years. He also founded a number of FinTech and digital startups including Innovate Online and SMS Comparison. Justin holds a Masters Degree and an Honours in Commerce from Monash University. He and his wife Paula live in Melbourne, Australia with his son and Siberian cat. In his spare time, he watches Australian Rules Football and invests on global markets.