To help choose a broker in the UK the best FCA regulated forex trading platforms were compared based on forex broker UK spreads, speeds and service. The top UK forex brokers were segmented from beginner to sophisticated traders.
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The Top 10 FCA regulated forex broker UK August 2021 updated list is.
Pepperstone Limited with the FCA license registration number 684312 offers the best trading experience with:
Pepperstone offers a standard account for beginner forex brokers and a razor account for advanced traders. You can view our Pepperstone razor vs standard article to learn about the two account types but in summary, the Razor account has lower fees. In fact, Pepperstone has the lowest average spreads compared to other FCA regulated ECN brokers in the UK. This can be critical for scalpers, advanced and algorithmic traders. This includes the popular GBP/USD currency pairing and some JPY crosses.
Pepperstone’s standard account is a great option for all levels of experience including beginner traders. With forex spreads starting from 0.6 pips, the commission-free pricing structure is one of the most competitive globally. Below, the broker’s average spreads are compared, with Pepperstone providing the tightest spreads for all major currency pairs. Please note, average spreads sourced directly from the forex broker’s websites and are updated monthly.
Data taken from broker website. Accurate as at 01/08/2021
Compare Standard Account Spreads
Similarly, Pepperstone’s ECN style Razor Account is very competitive compared to other top UK brokers. Commission spreads are ultra-tight for each major forex pair compared. With excellent trading conditions and pricing, the Razor Account type is well-suited to scalpers and algorithmic traders. As you are trading institutional grade spreads with no markups, you pay a commission fee on top of the spread that is also very competitive.
Compare ECN Account Spreads
Every ECN forex broker type account has a commission charge per lot traded (100k volume). Our August 2021 analysis showed that for both MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 that Pepperstone offered the lowest commission rate of £2.29 per lot.
While MT4 and MT5 users pay a flat rate commission fee, cTrader commission costs equate to 0.0035% of the base currency being traded. For example, if you are trading 100,000 units of EUR/GBP, you will pay €3.50 per side or €7 round-turn. Below compares Pepperstone to other FCA regulated ECN broker accounts.
To further reduce costs there is an Active Trader program which for high volume traders can reduce commission by 15%. This can be even higher when trading forex in large volumes. Below compares Pepperstone to similar UK ECN broker equivalent accounts ignoring the Active Trader program and purely looking at the standard commissions.
It should be noted that are no deposit or withdrawal fees charged by Pepperstone, including when transfers are made via credit card. The only charges may be from financial institutions, such as banks when individuals open an account and fund or withdraw monies. The minimum deposit is £200 to open a forex trading account which is low for an ECN-type spread account. Taking into account spreads and commissions, Pepperstone is the cheapest forex broker in UK as the calculator below highlights.
Pepperstone offers the best forex trading platforms that are considered the gold standards for forex trading around the globe. As these popular forex platforms are offered by a number of other top forex brokers in the UK it makes it easier to switch brokers if required. It also means there are more participants in marketplaces for elements such as trading programs when trading forex.
1) MetaTrader 4 Trading Platforms
MetaTrader 4 (MT4) is globally the most popular forex trading platform with:
2) MetaTrader 5 Trading Platform
MetaTrader 5 (MT5) focuses on traders looking for a range of market (not just forex) offering:
3) cTrader Trading Platform
A benefit of Pepperstone compared to other UK forex brokers is their ECN-like environment including ultra-fast execution speeds. Most forex orders are executed below ~60ms*, ideal for automated or high-volume traders. This is achieved through EDGE which for MT4 is:
Smarter – PPI (Price Improvement Technology) allows for optimal prices by routing to market hot-spots. This is displayed in the forex platform showing liquidity and the market order book.
Tighter – Improved interbank connectivity plus dark pool liquidity means tighter spreads starting at 0.0 for the EUR/USD currency pairing and the AUD/USD.
Faster – 10x latency reduction and 12x improvement in execution speed thanks to optical fibre connections to Equinix servers that are located next to Wall Street where over 60 exchanges, 150 financial service providers and 40 buy/sell firms are located. Below shows in testing Pepperstone has the fastest execution speed.
Pepperstone is one of the most awarded UK forex brokers when it comes to customer support. This includes the “best forex trading support” at the UK Forex Awards and “best forex trading support – Europe” at the Global Forex Awards. They also multi-award winners with Investment Trends, a survey sent to real forex traders annually.
Pepperstone customer service comes in the form of phone support, live chat and e-mail support. The UK support centre is based from:
Pepperstone Limited 70 Gracechurch St London, UNITED KINGDOM EC3V 0HR
Our August 2021 analysis found the Pepperstone Razor account has the lowest spreads and commissions and fastest execution speeds of any FCA regulated broker. The customer support was also world-class based out of London.
Pepperstone is the fastest, lowest cost FCA regulated forex broker
The minimum deposit to open a live account is £200 while there are no obligations to trial a demo account.
Review Of Pepperstone >>Visit Pepperstone >>
The overall rating is based on review by our experts
Markets.com is an FCA regulated broker that provides an excellent range of unique trading tools and CFDs. As a market maker broker, Markets.com offers commission-free trading on spreads as low as 0.6 pips (EURUSD). The online broker’s full CFD product range includes:
You can use four different trading platforms to access Markets.com tight, no commission spreads. Two proprietary platforms are available, Marketsx and Marketsi, as well as the ever-popular mainstream platforms, MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5).
Depending on the financial markets you want to access and your style of trading, the broker has a suitable trading platform for you:
The broker’s proprietary CFD trading platform, Marketsx, provides exclusive trading tools that will help you manage the high risk of trading while developing sophisticated trading strategies.
Sentiment Tools: provides data showing whether the majority of traders are buying or selling. Many brokers offer basic sentiment data, but Marketsx comes with a range of different sentiment trading tools.
I.e. Trends in Trading, Signals, News Trading Sentiment, News Alerts, Trading Analyst Recommendations, Bloggers Opinions and Insider Trades.
Technical Analysis: Marketsx offers an inbuilt charting package that comes with advanced technical analysis tools. The platform also has a Related Instruments feature that calculates the correlation between different financial markets.
Fundamental Analysis: helps you assess micro and macro-economic events that affect asset prices, making it easier to keep up to date with real-time financial news.
I.e Advanced Alerts, Financial Commentary, Dow Jones News and Thomson Reuters Stock Reports.
While Marketsx is geared toward short-term forex and CFD trading, the broker’s other proprietary platform, Marketsi, focuses on share trading.
You can still trade Markets.com full CFD product range, but instead of analysis tools, Marketsi comes with inbuilt features to help you develop diversified share portfolios:
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) permits UK brokers to offer spread betting services to retail traders based in the UK or Ireland. An alternative to CFD trading, spread betting can provide significant tax benefits as profits are not subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT).
Along with FCA oversight, Markets.com is a public company listed on the London Stock Exchange and part of the FTSE 250 index.
Markets.com is an FCA regulated broker that suits all styles of trading and levels of experience. The online broker offers four different trading platforms, each offering a collection of unique trading tools.
To access Markets.com full CFD product range of over 2,200 financial instruments, along with exclusive sentiment, technical and fundamental trading tools, the broker’s proprietary platform, Marketsx, is a great option for CFD trading. If you want to develop longer-term investments and focus on share trading, Marketsi provides access to proprietary diversification tools.
View Markets.com Review >>Visit Markets.com >>
IG provides a range of retail CFD accounts that are targeted towards retail investors who want to trade forex. The retail investor accounts are available on a range of forex platforms including:
Each of the forex platforms shown above also comes with IG broker UK mobile solutions, including a trading app. This allows you to trade forex on-the-go with the core functions needed for a smaller screen. IG also offers a spread betting UK Platform that can have tax benefits for residences in the United Kingdom. You can view the best UK forex trading platform page for more comparisons of brokers based on their forex platform and other features.
IG broker UK is only of the oldest brokers with 45 years of experience. They offer a variety of CFD trading and even interest rates and have VIP accounts for high volume traders. Their FCA company number is 04008957.
Individuals who want to trade with the largest foreign exchange broker and have the choice of forex platform with the ability to switch should consider IG.
Visit IG >>
FxPro is a one of top UK forex broker where clients’ can trade over 70 currency pairs with ultra-tight spreads in addition to Shares, Spot Metals, Spot Energies, Spot Indices, Shares and Futures.
FxPro clients gain access to institutional-grade pricing due to the brokers’ top-tier liquidity providers with No Dealing Desk (NDD) intervention. With NDD Execution and Equinix Data centres in Amsterdam and London, latency is low with the execution time averaging less than 11.06 ms.
Designed specifically for spread betting, the FxPro Edge platform offers clients’ access to a range of financial instruments within 6 six asset classes. As well as the spread betting platform offering advanced customisation, there are no commission fees and tight spreads.
Alternatively, FxPro clients’ can place traditional orders’ via MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 and cTrader, yet trading conditions may vary with higher spreads and commission fees.
Customer service is considered one of FxPro’s main advantages. The forex and CFD broker provides multilingual support with customer support agents available to help in over 17 languages 24 hours, 5 days a week.
FxPro offers clients’ extensive educational resources to assist with any trading or broker queries’ they may have. On the FxPro website, a library of videos is freely available with ‘How To’ instructions covering topics such as opening and funding an account as well as downloading fx platforms.
For those wanting to reach customer support agents directly, traders’ can request a callback when it suits them, or get instant assistance from FxPro representatives via Live Chat. Free call numbers are available for a range of countries, with clients also able to contact the broker via email. For those wanting to gain advice and information face-to-face, FxPro has offices in the UK, Cyprus, Monaco and the United Arab Emirates.
Traders who are looking for the most awarded broker (70+ UK and international awards) should choose FxPro with core strengths in their customer support, no dealing desk spreads and execution speeds.
For traders’ wanting to partake in spread betting, CMC Markets offers a wide product range, tight spreads and automated execution. CMC clients’ can go long or short in trades within Forex, Index, Treasury and Commodity markets. Pricing is favourable as gains are subject to fewer taxes than other financial instruments, plus no commission fees as the broker is compensated through the spread.
Many UK residents prefer a spread betting broker as profits are tax free. Profits made from spread betting platform trades are not subject to capital gains tax (CGT) in the United Kingdom, although traders should determine whether profits are subject to other taxes prior to entering high-risk positions. As well as avoiding CGT, spread betting investors’ are not required to pay stamp duty as they do not own the underlying asset. As spread betting is a tax-efficient investment, many traders’ prefer spread betting to buying and selling physical assets.
CMC Markets offer clients’ engaging in spread betting various risk management tools to maximise profits from leveraged positions.
Different order types include:
It is worth noting that spread betting is only currently available for CMC Markets clients’ who are residing in Ireland or the United Kingdom. CMC Group offers CFD and Spread Betting and is London Stock Exchange-listed with 30 years of experience.
Traders who want to try Spread Betting due to the unique tax benefits for UK residents should choose CMC Markets with a trading platform for this type of trading, training guides and the best trade execution speeds.
View CMC Markets Review >>Visit CMC Markets>>
All the brokers on this page are FCA regulated, which means:
For the past 5 years, ThinkMarkets offer additional protection up to £1,000,000 insurance on top of FCA regulation with Lloyds.
It should be noted that retail investor accounts have more FCA protection by default, as trading CFDs are complex instruments to those new to trading. Professional traders though have limited protection, which is why this extra level would appeal to higher volume experienced foreign exchange traders. ThinkMarkets has two online trading accounts including the standard account and ECN broker ‘Thinkzero’ account with EUR/USD spreads from 0.1 pips.
Plus500 is a fixed spread forex broker that offers intuitive trading platforms with a range of tools to maximise profits. Various asset classes can be traded, including Forex, Indices, Options, Shares, ETFs and Commodities. The broker is compensated through the spreads, charging no additional flat rate commission fee with low non-trading fees. Plus500 is seen as a trustworthy company as the broker is regulated by FCA (Financial Conduct Authority, UK) as well as other top-tier financial authorities around the globe including ASIC (Australia), FSCA (South Africa), FMA (NZ), MAS (Singapore) and CySEC (Cyprus).
In regards to the UK brokers’ platforms, Plus500 offers a proprietary webtrader platform as well as apps compatible with iPhone, iPad, smartwatches, Android and Windows devices. The mobile app offers a fully functional trading environment where users can conduct in-depth analysis, manage accounts, and execute trades on over 2000 financial instruments.
The mobile apps design is user friendly and offers similar features to the Plus500 webtrader app. The mobile app is an easy introduction to forex and CFD trading, with risk management tools available to protect capital when starting out.
Ensures a limit on any potential losses by closing positions when price movements are unfavourable.
Positions remain open if prices move in favourable directions yet automatically closes the position if prices move in the opposite direction by a certain amount of pips.
Can be added to new, pending or open positions to minimise losses. Traders can set particular rates where positions will automatically close.
Plus500’s traders’ sentiment feature allows clients’ to easily view traders’ sentiment for major currency pairs and financial instruments. This tool is helpful to those new to UK forex trading, as traders can gauge the portion of participants buying or selling in a specific market.
As well as different order types and sentiment features, Plus500 offers clients excellent alert tools. Price alerts will inform traders when financial instruments reach certain bid or ask prices, while the Change % alert notifies clients’ when a currency pair or a CFD experience an absolute price change reaching a pre-set level.
The Plus500 mobile app is highly regarded among forex traders based on broker reviews. On Google Play, the Plus500 mobile app has over 80,000 reviews with the app receiving a 4.2/5 rating, while the Apple app store also sees the mobile app receiving high praise at 4.2/5 stars from over 2000 reviews.
Plus500 offers an unlimited demo account, that unlike many UK forex companies the trial account offered has no time restrictions. A balance of virtual funds is provided to practise strategies, with full functionality of the mobile app available under a demo account.
Individuals on-the-go that don’t have regular access to a computer should consider Plus500 who focuses on mobile trading with apps across platforms and devices.
eToro UK Ltd is FCA regulated and unique to the other forex brokers in the UK with a focus on:
eToro created CopyTrader which allows individuals to copy the best traders in the United Kingdom and around the world. When you choose a trader to follow, their trades get copied and inserted into your account. This can be then managed in a transparent and simple way. Below shows an example of the social investor’s section of the site. You can allocate a set proportion of your existing funds to copy his or her portfolio. The person you have copied also receives a small incentive from eToro for the more followers they receive.
It should be noted that copy trading is the most popular feature of eToro. They have over 3,000,000+ active traders worldwide, providing a plethora of choice when it comes to copying a portfolio. This is assisted through filters based on returns, number of copiers and what markets they like to trade. Another option shown below are market portfolios, trader portfolios and partner portfolios, which combine traders, top performance assets or specific strategies.
eToro offers UK residences with a zero commission stockbroking service. This means there are no commissions on shares in markets across the world from the UK, Hong Kong to the USA. There are no limits on the amount traded and free stock analysis from a team of experts.
While there are no commissions, there are fees when it comes to trading shares with eToro. These include conversion fees for most UK residences as the eToro platform uses USD. This means transferring your GBP to eToro for share trading has some currency conversion charges. Additionally, there is a withdrawal fee which is $25 USD. Again, this should be factored into the cost when comparing the top UK broker with other share trading services.
If you’re more familiar with traditional CFD products, you can start trading with eToro across shares, commodities, currencies, indices and EFTs. Leverage for retail UK traders is up to 30:1 which is the maximum set by the FCA and the broker sets limits on margin calls. If you qualify for a professional account, this can be increased by up to 400:1 leading to a high-risk environment. If trading with either a retail or professional account trying the free demo account first before a high-risk live account is recommended.
Individuals who want to copy the trades of selected forex traders and like being part of a social trading community should choose eToro. Just note the broker has higher brokerage in some categories with unique charges such as withdrawal fees. They are regulated by the FCA, MiFID, ASIC and CySEC.
Visit eToro >>
City Index is the best UK forex broker for beginner forex traders based on their low spread only account. Below compares City Index to comparable spread only CFD brokers that don’t charge a commission on trades. Not only does City Index have the lowest spreads but they also require a low initial deposit of £100 to open a trading account.
The broker offers forex traders comprehensive forex training resources, suited to all levels of experience from beginner to advanced traders. This starts with an introduction to CFD markets and moves to advanced trading strategies. There are also webinars and videos to further enhance traders’ knowledge of forex markets.
City Index has the Financial Conduct Authority Licence 113942 and the parent company is Gain Capital which is regulated in 8 jurisdictions. They have an online forex platform that’s ideal to use for beginner forex traders with the option of micro accounts with an initial deposit requirement of $0.
City Index is designed for those new to currency trading with an easy to use forex platform, risk management tools and training. With low spreads, the broker is a good starting point to forex markets.
City Index Review >>Visit City Index >>
XTB is a forex and CFD exchange-listed form that is regulated by the FCA and accepts UK residents. The broker provides comprehensive market access to a range of asset classes, including Forex, Indices, Stocks and ETFs.
For those wanting to explore forex and CFD trading, or test sophisticated trading instruments and strategies, XTB’s free demo account is an excellent educational resource. Demo account users’ are given 4 weeks to practise trading and a virtual balance of ￡100,000.
Demo users’ gain access to an environment very similar to trading with real money without the high risk of losing capital. Over 1500 financial instruments are available to practise with, including Forex, Index, Commodity and Share CFDs.
Trading strategies can be tested on XTB’s proprietary platform, xStation or MetaTrader 4, depending on a demo account users’ trading needs and preferences. Both MT4 and xStation offer mobile apps, allowing traders to explore financial markets on the go.
As well as the benefits of a demo account for both beginner and advanced traders’, XTB offers a range of educational resources to gain confidence. The XTB website provides videos explaining trading strategies, trading instruments and forex platforms as well as live webinars. Educational resources are separated into experience levels, ensuring there is useful information for all levels of experience by providing Basic, Intermediate, Expert and Premium content.
Once demo account users feel confident buying and selling financial instruments with real money, traders’ can choose between Standard, Pro and Islamic Account structures depending on preferences surrounding commission fees, minimum deposits, leverage, and swap fees.
If you are unfamiliar with forex and CFD markets or looking to trial different trading strategies in a risk-free environment, then XTB is recommended with an unlimited demo account available across a number of advanced platforms.
XTB Review >>Visit XTB >>
With over 80 currency pairs and a range of CFDs, FXCM is an excellent option for UK investors’ wanting to start trading CFDs as well as major, minor and exotic currency pairs. In addition to an extensive selection of financial instruments covering Index, Share, Commodity, and currency asset classes, FXCM offers a Direct Market Access (DMA) account type where spreads are similar to an ECN environment.
Designed for the broker’s proprietary fx platforms, an FXCM account type offers all-inclusive spreads and a choice of platforms. Depending on a traders’ preferences and needs, orders can be placed through an advanced platform, web platform or mobile platform. All options allow for multiple order types, comprehensive technical analysis, and a range of trading tools.
A MetaTrader account is aimed towards traders wanting to use the gold standard of trading platforms, MetaTrader 4 (MT4). MT4 users’ also trade all-inclusive spreads, with all commission fees included in the spread.
Benefits of a MetaTrader account include:
FXCM’s DMA Account means clients’ can trade at institutional-grade pricing with spreads as low as 0.1 pips on major forex pairs due to the brokers’ top-tier liquidity providers. When using a DMA Account type, customers pay a fixed commission fee yet lower spreads then the brokers’ all-inclusive account types. Although trades can be made at ECN-like pricing, there are certain restrictions with a DMA Account. Users’ can only trade forex financial instruments and execute trades on the broker’s proprietary platform.
Benefits of a DMA account include:
Those looking to trade not just forex majors but also exotic currency pairs and rare Contracts for Difference should choose Forex.com based on the large range of forex and CFDs available with the online broker.
View FXCM Review >>Visit FXCM
The best forex broker in the UK is Pepperstone based on their low fees including spreads from 0.0 pips, £2.29 commissions (£4.59 round turn) which can be further reduced through the active trader program, choice of MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 or cTrader forex trading platform and award-winning customer service. Pepperstone has local offices in London, United Kingdom and trades in the UK as Pepperstone Limited under Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Registration Number 684312.
Beginner forex traders should consider City Index as the broker offers both spread betting and CFD trading. The forex broker provides extensive forex training for beginners, a unique forex platform that allows web trading, mobile trading via iOS and Android Apps or a desktop platform that can be downloaded and the option to trade indices, shares and forex. City Index in the United Kingdom trades as GAIN Capital UK Limited with local offices in London with FCA registration number 113942.
The lowest spreads available are through a Pepperstone Razor forex account. Average spreads on the forex pair EUR/USD are 0.0 to 0.3 pips with a commission of £4.59 round turn per 100k traded. To further reduce trading costs, Pepperstone offers an Active Trader program for monthly trading above 200 lots with rebates on commissions starting from 15%. You can compare the Razor vs standard account to see which one best suits your trading needs.
Every forex broker in the UK recommended on this page is listed on the Financial Conduct Authority FCA register. This was called the Financial Services Authority (FSA) prior to 2013, after which the Banking Reform Act reformed the authority. As part of Europe, the United Kingdom follows the ESMA guidelines on CFD trading.
You can view the full list of FCA regulated brokers at the bottom of this page. The authority is independently formed by the government and funded by membership fees. Forex brokers are required to hold a minimum of £1 million in operating capital in the UK by the FCA. This increases based on a formula aligned to the number of traders a fx broker has. Other requirements include:
The FCA has a compensation scheme to guarantee forex broker UK client funds are protected. This is called the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The objective of the FSCS is to compensate CFD traders when a broker comes into insolvency issues, offering protection up to £50,000. When insolvency and liquidation issues occur, the FSCS provides CFDs traders with:
To submit a claim a CFD trader is required to make an insurance claim through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme website. Traders’ should ensure the firm is listed on the FSCS website as compensation is only available when the body deems the broker’s assets are frozen or it’s in liquidation. To avoid a scam broker, it is strongly recommended that UK residents choose an FCA regulated broker. It may also be worth keeping up-to-date with the regulator’s website as brokers’ can have their Financial Conduct Authority license revoked, this recently occurred in the UK with FXTM losing their FCA license.
Traders should note that this year Cryptocurrency CFD trading was banned by the FCA. This means that any crypto class such as Bitcoin is no longer offered by any regulated broker in the United Kingdom. Cryptocurrencies are also banned for traders that choose spread betting.
Based on factors such as currency trading conditions, forex market range, fees and customer service, a list of recommended UK forex brokers regulated by the FCA has been created. This was last revised in August 2021 and is regularly updated based on CFD providers that gain or lose FCA licenses. Many brokers such as OANDA, XTB and their platform xStation were considered in this review and may be featured on our other UK comparison page. They are shown in the table below.
Disclaimer: CFD and Spread Betting involve complex instruments. In volatile markets, the combination of leverage creates a high-risk trading environment. Volatility can lead clients to lose money quickly. A high percentage of retail investor accounts lose money when engaging in CFD trading, which can be viewed in each broker’s disclaimer. It’s critical to understand how CFDs work prior to entering highly leveraged, high-risk positions. Make sure that you understand the risks of CFDs and spread bets and can afford to lose your money when 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.