The top forex brokers offer the lowest spreads and fees when trading CFDs through the best forex trading platforms such as MetaTrader 4 and cTrader with fast execution speeds, a range of currency pairings and markets such as cryptocurrencies and strong customer support.
View the top retail foreign exchange regulated brokers below.
By Justin Grossbard / Updated: Tuesday, February 18th, 2020
Top 8 Forex Brokers
Below are the best forex brokers in 2020 across each CFD trading categories:
Pepperstone – Best Forex Trading Platform
IC Markets – Lowest EUR/USD Spread Broker
City Index (Forex.com) – Best Bitcoin + Cryptocurrency Broker
Plus500 – Best Beginner Demo Account
eToro – Best Copy Trader + Social CFD Broker
FXCM – Best Forex Trading Demo Account
IG Group – Largest Foreign Exchange Retail Broker
Interactive Brokers– Best FX Broker For Experienced Traders
Pepperstone Offers The Best Forex Trading Platforms
Pepperstone offers the most popular forex platforms:
Three trading platform enhancements features are:
The fastest execution speeds
Smart trader tools for MT4 + MT5
Social trading functionality
How Pepperstone Execution Speeds Less Than 30ms
Most orders Pepperstone forex traders make are executed in less than 30 milliseconds. This is the fastest execution speed achieved through the Equinix Capital Markets infrastructure. This includes servers in New York (for MetaTrader) and London (for cTrader). The Equinix data centre platform is the largest in the world for multi-asset trading with over 475 buy/sell-side firms and over 1,200 financial service institutions. The size and proximity of the data centre allow real-time exchange rate data for traders and Straight-Through-Processing (STP) of orders. With the Razor account offering no dealing desk the trading experience is ideal for expert forex traders, those running expert advisors or scalpers.
Why Pepperstone Is Ideal For MetaTrader 4 + MetaTrader 5
Pepperstone offers enhancements for both the MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 forex trading platform. This is called Smart Trader Tools and includes both broadcast facilities and trading alarms that integrate into the fx platform. Below shows example expert advisors that can be incorporated into MT4 or MT5.
Other trading tools that can be added include 15 indicators such as “Gravity” that visualises support and resistance areas.
Pepperstone also offers Autochartist which is directly built into the MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 trading platforms. This market scanner tool identifies key markets events impacting focusing on technical indicators, data intervals across currency pairs. Only statistically significant price movements are identified through Autochartist and Pepperstone has built-in filters based on 6+ months worth of historical data. The trading tool also has a risk management tool with expected movements over 1 hour to 24 hours and provides trade volume recommendations to retain risk tolerance levels.
What Copy And Social Trading Facility Pepperstone Offers
There are five social trading options available with Pepperstone. DupliTrade is for MetaTrader 4 only and has copy trader functionality where an individual can choose from a large set of forex traders to duplicate when trading. Pepperstone requires a minimum deposit of $5,000 to access DupliTrade. The other social trading platform for MT4 is MetaTrader signals (this is also available for MT5) and unlike DupliTrade has no initial deposit requirements. The other three copy trading and social trading platforms can be run in conjunction with MetaTrader of the cTrader forex platform.
Summary Of Why Pepperstone Wins The Category Of Forex Trading Platforms
Pepperstone is FCA regulated in UK (no.684312) and by ASIC in Australia (AFSL No.414530).
Pepperstone not only offers the choice of the three best forex platforms but provides the optimal trading environment and tools.
With the best technology, platform feature enhancements and add-on trading tools such as social trading, its no wonder Pepperstone is the fastest growing forex broker worldwide.
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
IC Markets Has The Lowest EUR/USD Spreads
IC Markets Raw Spread Account (formally known as the True ECN Broker Account) costs include:
EUR/USD Spreads From 0.0 pips
$3.50 Commission Per Lot
No Deposit/Withdrawal/Inactivity Fees
Key trading costs benefits with IC Markets are:
ECN Broker type spreads
Minimal Additional Trading Costs
EUR/USD ECN Low Spreads Offered By IC Markets
There are three forex accounts types offered with IC Markets with the cTrader and Raw Spread (formally True ECN) accounts offering the lowest spreads. 62% of the time the Euro/US dollar Raw Spread trading account EUR/USD spread was 0.0 pips. This is considered an ECN broker spread account type with STP. Below compares IC Markets Raw Spread account type to the best forex accounts of other top forex brokers worldwide. It highlights how IC Markets has the lowest EUR/USD spreads and second-lowest AUD/USD spread found on this forex broker review.
EUR/USD Average Spread
AUD/USD Average Spreads
IC Markets Commissions For The Raw Spread Account
There are 10 base currencies offered by IC Markets. The actual commission for the raw spread account (for MetaTrader 4) is determined by the base currency set. Below shows the commissions across each base currency from Euro, USD, GBP to AUD.
Other CFD Broker Account Fees
When trading currency pairs of CFDs there are a number of fees a broker may charge in addition to spreads and commissions.
1) Deposit Fees IC Markets doesn’t charge and additional fees when making a deposit. Payment methods include Paypal, Skrill, Credit Card, Bpay and FasaPay. A popular method is also Bank/Wire transfer but it should be noted that international transfers way incur a $20 AUD fee charged by the bank itself. The deposit method impacts the processing times with credit card, Paypal and debit card usually instant.
The minimum deposit amount with IC Markets if $200 USD.
2) Withdrawal Fees Like deposits, there are no additional withdrawal fees charged by IC Markets. Only international transfers may lead to the addition $20 AUD fee charged. The withdrawal methods a forex trader will usually select was the deposit method made.
3) Inactivity Fees Unlike some brokers, IC Markets doesn’t charge a penalty (inactivity fee) when an account isn’t used for a sustained period.
4) Rollover Fees A rollover fee is also known as a swap and is charged by all CFD brokers. They are applied when a position is key open for the next trading day. These change regularly and on Wednesday night the charge for holding a currency pair is triple.
Summary Of Why IC Markets Has The Lowest EUR/USD Spreads And Fees
IC Markets is ASIC regulated with the AFSL No. 335692. Their Raw Spread trading account offers MetaTrader or cTrader straight-through-processing to achieve ECN broker spreads.
Our analysis showed that IC Markets has the lowest average EUR/USD spread of 0.1 pips, no funding costs and low commisisons.
IC has a low minimum deposit of $200 making it an accessible broker for traders looking to access ECN prices.
City Index offers the most comprehensive CFDs including indices, shares, cryptocurrency, commodities, interest rates and options. This is the ideal broker for those looking to trade a range of financial products (not just currency). They offer the lowest spreads of any forex broker when it comes to the ‘spread only’ category with no commissions charged to traders. This is terms the ‘standard account’ by most brokers.
1) Indices CFD Trading
City Index offers 21 Indices to trade across Europe, Asia and the USA. Trading CFDs in this class has fixed spreads from 1 point. Leverage can be up to 500:1 depending on your residence with the ability to trade contracts on options, futures and cash.
2) Share CFD Trading
City Index allows individuals to trade CFDs across over 4,500 shares. The commission on global shares is 0.09%. Due to the high-risk nature of CFDs and share fluctuations a stop-loss order is recommended. In some cases, a guaranteed stop-loss order (GSLO) order type can also be made to lock in the maximum loss of a trade. If your new to high-risk trading this should be considered as part of your trading strategy.
3) Cryptocurrency CFD Trading
City Index CFD trading is across the major crypto classes including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple. As shown below in 2020 City Index has the lowest CFD costs when it comes to cryptocurrencies.
4) Commodity Trading
City Index allows trading on over 25 commodities from oil, coffee to wheat. This can be done with leverage which varies by the commodity chosen. The big advantage of commodity trading is the tighter spreads compare to other trading CFD markets.
5) Interest Rates And Options Trading
The final trading CFDs grouping is Bonds, Interest Rates and Options. These are commission-free with spreads only charged. Leverage is at the higher range making it a high-risk tradable CFD.
Summary Of City Index Range Of CFD Markets
City Index is ASIC regulated with AFSL 345646 and is known as the service provider Forex.com in the UK, USA and Canada with licenses FCA 113942 and NFA 0339826.
With the lowest standard accounts spreads, high leverage and a range of CFDs, City Index is the low cost solution for those looking to trade more than just currency.
With no initial deposit requirements and no funding fees (including from credit cards), City Index is recommended for those looking to trade forex and a range of financial product CFDs with no commissions.
Beginner forex traders should consider the Plus500 online trading account based on:
Negative Balance Protection
Guaranteed Stop Loss Orders
No Commissions And Hidden Fees
Mobile Trading Platform
1) Negative Balance Protection
Trading forex markets are high-risk due to leverage increasing exposure to the market. This means that if the market moves in the wrong direction losses can quickly accumulate and could exceed a trader’s deposit. When this occurs most CFD brokers will request the negative balance be paid back to get reach a zero balance.
Plus500 offers negative balance protection which means that if a trader goes into a negative balance that the broker will adjust the online trading account to $0. This means that if a fx trader places the minimum deposit with Plus500 of $100 (for a credit/debit card) that losses won’t exceed this amount.
2) Guaranteed Stop Loss Orders
A guaranteed stop-loss order (GSLO) order type is similar to negative balance protection but of individual trades. This means that when placing an individual trade a maximum loss amount can be set and Plus500 guarantees the trader’s loss will not exceed this level. This shouldn’t be confused with a standard stop-loss order which also allows a trader to set the maximum loss but losses can exceed this level due to slippage. It should be noted that when the GSLO order type is activated that the spreads will be wider for that trade.
3) No Commissions And Hidden Fees
Plus500 primarily makes its brokerage from the market-based spreads (the difference between the buy/sell price). This simplifies calculations for brokerage compared to other brokers who charge a commission, payment processing fees and forex platform usage fees. Some standard fees to take note is a $10USD inactivity fee if a trader doesn’t log into their account for 3 months and an overnight funding fee if market positions are held over a sustained period.
4) Easy To Use Mobile Trading Platform
Plus500 focus is primarily on mobile trading with trading apps on iPhone, iPad, Android and window. Mobile trading can also occur on the webtrader while a windows 10 trader exists for those using a desktop device. The mobile trading apps have full functionality with the ability to monitor markets and make live trades. These can also be accessed through the Plus500 demo account.
Summary Why Plus500 Has The Best Beginner Trading Account
Plus500 has over 300,000 active customers and is regulated in Australia by ASIC (AFSL 417727), in South Africa by FSCA (FSP 47546) and in the UK by FCA (FRN 509909).
Plus500 is ideal for beginners with risk managment tools, training and an easy to use trading platform.
With a strong reputation, they are the recommended starting point for new CFD traders with the Plus500 minimum deposit $100 for credit and debit cards.
eToro are the worldwide leaders when it comes to social trading/copy trading with:
eToro are the leaders when it comes to social trading with the trading platform having an inbuilt social news feed. The main feature used is copy trading where a trader can be selected based on their past trading activity. The social trading module displays key stats from past returns to the level of historical risk associated with the individual. eToro also rewards individuals who have their trades copied to maximise the number of individuals engaged in the platform.
Copy portfolio is similar to copy traders but combines similar individuals or markets (eg crypto). This can help to diversify risk from just copying one instrument or one trader. Options include market portfolios, top trader portfolios and partner portfolios.
Through its propriety trading platform that includes mobile trading and mobile apps CFDs can be traded. This includes share CFDs (stocks), crpytoassets (crypto), commodities, EFTs, indices and 47 forex pairs.
Why Choose eToro For Social Trading
eToro is quite different from all other online brokers and was built around social trading especially it’s mobile trading platform. With the largest number of copy traders worldwide thanks to the way the broker incentives traders, this is the best broker for those looking for this functionality when you trade forex markets or CFDs.
Using the trading station platform, FXCM offers the best demo account with:
No Signups Needed
$5,000 US dollars of virtual money
Live prices and simulated trading
More Details Of The FXCM Trading Station Demo Account
FXCM offers the only demo account that doesn’t require the trader to provide their basic details. From any FXCM webpage, there is the option to “try demo” which launches the web demo platform. Virtual money up to $5,000 can be traded in the demo account with most order types supported except for stop/limit trades.
Like any demo account, FXCM replicates real markets but is still simulated. Differences can cause delays in pricing, liquidity restrictions and not all CFDs are tradable. Other factors from no slippage to rejected orders may not be present in a demo account. FXCM offers support for demo account users but you need to leave the trading platform for live chat etc.
Overall, the ease of opening a demo account anonymously and instantly with a simple tutorial to get you started is why FXCM has won this CFDs category.
Those looking to avoid a scam broker at all cost should consider IG as they:
Are the largest retail foreign exchange broker in the world
Have licences with most currency trading regulators
Have additional corporate governance safeguards
IG Markets (now known as IG Group) is one of the older brokers founded in 1974. They operate in 16,000+ foreign exchange market and have over 178,000 clients across the globe. This is the most of any broker which is why they make the claim that IG is the no.1 CFD trading and spread betting service provider.
IG has a signatory of the FX code of conduct. These global currency trading guidelines help protect traders from scams occurring in future and protect traders funds.
IG is regulated by most ‘tier 1’ government authorities including ASIC (Australian Securities & Investment Commission), JFSA (Japanese Financial Services Authority) and MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore). Other regulators include FINMA (Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority), CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission), and FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) with is the successor of the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The requirements of these regulators help mitigate the risk of forex ccams that past brokers have been known to have.
Expert Forex Traders Should Consider Interactive Brokers
Professional forex traders only should consider Interactive Brokers due to:
Very High minimum deposit requirements
High inactivity fees for low volume traders
Low Fees and ECN spreads
Most financial markets tradable including stockbroking
Trading Requirements Of Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers is not designed for most traders. Only professional traders with high currency trading volume can trade with the broker. To qualify these traders the service provider’s minimum deposit of $10,000 USD. There are also heavy penalties (known as maintenance fees) if commissions made don’t exceed $10k USD for the initial 8 months. This means real money volumes need to be traded consistently.
ECN Broker Spreads And Commissions
Interactive Brokers is a true ECN broker allowing trading directly with liquidity providers with no dealing desk. This is similar to IC Markets and Pepperstone. A key difference comes when to their commission which is lower only when an online trader’s volume is very high such as exceeding $5m USD.
Financial Instruments Available
Interactive Brokers offers the most financial markets of any foreign exchange broker. This is because in addition to CFDs they offer stockbroking, mutual funds and even hedge fund products. This allows high volume professional traders to have an all-in-one broker for all their financial requirements.
Overall, if you’re a professional trader looking to trade high-volume consistently in the future across a wide range of financial markets then Interactive Brokers is the best all-in-one solution that offers the lowest brokerage from spreads to commissions.
Based on 13,000 traders who voted with Investment Trends, Pepperstone is the best CFD broker offering the leading forex platforms, the fastest execution speeds and customer support. View the finding leading to Pepperstone being the best MT4 broker.
What is the best forex broker for beginners?
Plus500 is the beginner CFD broker offering risk management features including negative balance protection and guaranteed stops, no commissions on trades, low deposit requires of $200 and an easy to use trading platform. See the Plus500 writeup.
Does a forex broker want you to lose?
An ECN broker acts the same as a stockbroker allowing an individual to process a trade with the market. This type of broker does not want a trader to lose as they make a commission based on trade volume. You can read more about our recommended ECN broker on our page reviewing IC Markets.
The second type of broker is a market maker taking a position in most cases at the opposite end of a trade. These brokers want you to lose money as its a core way they profit from CFD trading. Generally, savvy traders avoid these type of brokers.
How We Compiled The 2020 CFD Broker List
That data above came from the broker’s websites, our own analysis using their platforms and the regulators for:
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the regulator in the UK. Despite Brexit, the authority remains guided by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). Most clients in the EU need to provide a National Client Identifier (for UK residences this is their National Insurance Number) or LEI for entities. View the leading UK brokers with a valid FRN.
South African Brokers
Formally the FSB, The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) is the regulator in South African. Regulated FSCA firms have a valid Authorised Financial Service Providers (FSP) licence. You view the leading South African FSP licence brokers.
The Monetary Authority Of Singapore (MAS) is the local regulator. Regulated firms will have a company regulation number relevant for contract for differences trading. You can view our top accounts for Singapore traders.
Other regulators were considered such as the Cyrus Securities And Exchange Commission (CySEC). The same is the case for brokers including Global Prime, XTB, OANDA, easyMarkets, FP Markets and eToro and platforms such as NinjaTrader. This page was not designed for USA trader who may require a broker with the National Futures Association (NFA) or the CFTC. Learn more about selecting a CFD provider with our choosing article.