To help choose a broker to trade foreign exchange we have listed our forex broker reviews. These ratings are based on forex trading platforms, average spreads and traders opinions with only regulated forex brokers selected to review in 2021.
Forex brokers that that charge a spread and commission are often termed ECN brokers. This means they have no dealing desk with a goal of not making a profit from the spread but rather a flat commission rate based on volume. Any remaining spread is determined by the market.
Most experienced forex traders will choose an ECN forex broker as their overall fees are lower. They also have superior execution speeds with traders having direct access to other financial instructions and liquidity pools.
Often termed as ‘standard accounts’ these brokers (or accounts) have no commissions. Instead the forex broker makes it’s money primarily from the spread (the difference between the buy and sell price). These spreads will differ based on the currency pair and the time of the day. Generally the more traded pairs such as the EUR/USD will have lower spreads than more exotic pairings
Non Commission brokers are normally the performance of beginner forex traders due to the simplicity of pricing. This can make it easier to calculate the profit/losses of trades. The downside is the overall fees may be higher compared to an ECN trading account.
Unlike ECN or Non-Commission accounts, the best forex broker for beginners are fixed spread accounts don’t have floating spreads. This means that traders know the fees a broker will charge over time adding certainty when training. Often fixed spread brokers also will have other risk management tools included such as guaranteed stop losses.
Fixed spread forex brokers have the highest fees so most experienced or algorithmic traders won’t consider this option. They also have the poorest execution speeds of the three broker sets. They are still the best forex broker for beginners as risk management tools can limit losses and their training facilities are the best for novice traders.
Pepperstone is the 2021 best forex broker based on:
Pepperstone is an Australian forex broker founded in 2010. They are regulated by:
As forex and CFDs are derivatives and therefore complex instruments, trading comes with a high level of risk. Pepperstone’s ‘tier 1’ regulators mean the trader’s funds are secure and the broker can be trusted by investors. The broker follows all local regulations, such as disclaimers and segregated client funds with additional protections in certain areas.
Pepperstone is a great choice for experienced forex traders as it uses STP technology to connect traders with liquidity providers and offers low commissions.
View Pepperstone Review >>Visit Pepperstone >>
The overall rating is based on review by our experts
IC Markets have the lowest brokerage overall based on:
IC Markets offers ECN pricing, which is why they are able to offer some of the lowest spreads for many currency pairs. Not only does IC Markets have tight spreads, the broker also has low commission costs for most base currencies including the GBP, USD, EUR and AUD.
Data taken from broker website. Accurate as at 02/04/2021
Like Pepperstone, IC Markets was founded in Australia and has ASIC regulation. In Europe, it holds CySEC regulation (Cyprus) and also has Seychelles regulation issued by the FSA. IC Markets offer a choice of MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 and cTrader forex trading platforms. Traders outside Europe and Australia have a maximum leverage of 500:1, leverage for major currency pairs in Australia and Europe is 30:1 and 20:1 for minor and exotics.
Compare Broker Spreads >>Visit IC Markets >>
A 2021 comparison of the best brokers for those new to forex trading found ThinkMarkets was the best beginner broker. This review found ThinkMarkets to be the best broker for beginners because:
Founded in 2010, ThinkMarkets has its headquarters in London and Melbourne. The broker is regulated by ASIC, FCA, FSCA and FSA is an excellent choice for beginner traders as it has low minimum deposits meaning one can commence trading with a small investment and a standard accounts with spreads from 0.4 pip making the broker one of the best value for commission free trading in the industry. To give beginner brokers an extra level of security, all ThinkMarkets clients receive negative balance protection.
ThinkMarkets trading servers are located near major financial hubs in the UK, NY and HK meaning fast trading execution, which is critical to reducing slippage, especially when using their ThinkZero STP account, which has spreads from 0.0 pips and a commission of $3.50. Lastly, ThinkMarkets offer MetaTrader 4, 5 and their own developed platform ThinkTrader, the no.1 mobile trading app in the world so you can trade on the go using 80 indicators, 50 graphical tools and 14 different chart types.
View ThinkMarkets Review >>Visit ThinkMarkets >>
Established in Tel Aviv, Israel, eToro has offices in Cyprus, the UK and Australia. eToro differs from most brokers as it’s a social trading platform that allows traders to view, compare and share trading ideas and strategies with millions of other traders worldwide. eToro offers advanced trading tools such as CopyTrader™ system to copy trades from other portfolios, and CopyPortfolios™ which is an investment fund of sorts where you can invest in a portfolio compiled from top eToro traders.
Key features of eToro include
eToro strength as a social trading platform is helped not only by excellent tools but the size of its trading community, which means access to a large knowledge base for social success. This community has access to access to a wide range of CFD products including 16 cryptocurrencies pairs, 2000 stocks, 145 ETFs, 14 commodities and 13 indices all available with no commission frees as eToro is a spread only product.
eToro is regulated by CySEC, FCA and ASIC. They were features highly in the best forex broker UK comparison.
Brokerage when trading forex ranges from spreads, commissions and holding costs. Our brokerage comparison found that Fusion Market’s market-leading commissions (most of which were 50% lower than other brokers) made them the cheapest worldwide.
Founded and headquartered in Melbourne since 2017, Fusion markets are regulated in Australia and Vanuatu and offers one of the best trading experience by applying ‘the Fusion Formula’. That is ‘Low-Cost Trading + Friendly Support + Leading Technology’. Low-Cost Trading is achieved 3 ways:
In addition to low costs, Fusion markets offer ‘white gloves’ friendly customer service and leading technologies such as blazing fast trade execution speed of 0.2 ms and MetaTrader 4 forex trading platforms.
View Fusion Markets Review >>Visit Fusion Markets >>
Contract For Difference (CFDs) is more than just trading forex. They also allow trading of cryptocurrencies to commodities and indices. Our CFD trading platform comparison rewarded XTB as best CFD broker.
Founded in Warsaw, Poland in 2002 under the name X-Trade and later changed to XTB, this CFD broker is one of the largest stock exchange-listed brokers. XTB offers a large range of financial products for trade on the market with 1500 instruments including 49 forex pairs, 42 indices, 22 commodities, 1755 stock CFDs, 113 ETF CFDs and 25 Crypto pairs. Spreads for forex start at 0.28 pips for EURUSD for its PRO trading account.
In addition to its excellent range of CFDs, XTB stands out for its choice of trading platforms and free features. XTB offers a choice of 2 trading platforms, its proprietary award-winning xStation 5 CFD trading platform, which offers instant execution with an average trading execution speed of 85 ms and no requotes. and MetaTrader 4.
The broker also a wealth of free tools including its online Trading Academy which offers multiple courses with an extensive range tailored for beginner traders. Lastly, XTB has a solid range of market analysis tools. One unique feature is its mobile trade alert via WhatsApp for the latest trading news.
XTB is regulated by FCA, CySEC, CNMV (Spain), KNF (Poland), IFSC (Belize)
XTB Review >>Visit XTB >>
easyMarkets offers an extensive range of risk management tools. One risk management feature traders will appreciate is guaranteed negative balance protection.
Founded in 2001 with headquarters in Limassol (Cyprus) and regulated by ASIC and CySEC, easyMarkets (formerly easy-Forex) market maker with its mains strength being its range of risk management tools usually included free of charge. easyMarkets operates with three 3 simple values: ‘Simple, Honest, Transparent’.
Most of the easyMarkets risk management is included ‘free’ with each trade, which means they are paid for through the standard spreads prices. This means trader’s get good value for the prices paid, especially as easyMarkets do not have commission fees. easyMarkets offers a choice of 3 types of trading accounts including a VIP account and 64 forex currency pairs, 53 shares CFD, 3 cryptocurrencies, 5 metals, 5 energies, 7 soft commodities and 15 indices. easyMarkets also offers options and futures trading not often found with other brokers when trading financial markets.
View easyMarkets Review >>Visit easyMarkets>>
Individuals looking for Cryptocurrency CFDs such as Bitcoin should consider Forex.com (City Index) which has the lowest trading costs.
City Index is dealing desk broker and part of the Gain Capital umbrella who are listed on the NYSE and also own the CFTC regulated Forex.com in the USA. Regulated by ASIC, FCA, UAE Central Bank (United Emirates) and MAS (Singapore), the broker offers 2 types of retail investor accounts where one can choose from 2 trading platforms, AT Pro (with over 100 technical indicators) or MT4 and from over 4500 CFD markets, 84 currency pairs with spreads starting from 0.7 pips and no commissions.
The City Index product portfolio is very strong overall includes 21 indices, 4500+ shares CFD, 25+ hard and soft commodities and less common options such as bonds, interest rates and options and one of its major strengths; cryptocurrencies. City Index offers 6 of the most popular cryptos including Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum and Litecoin but where it shines is the low costs with some of the lowest spreads and swap rates on the market.
As a market maker rather than ECN broker, City Index includes lots of free features, making their spreads excellent value. Included is the City Index trading academy which covers all City Index financial markets from beginner to advanced level and a wealth of trading tools including a research portal, built-in trading strategies for trading signals, Reuters news and expert market analysis.
Trading any financial product requires training that can be completed either online or on-site. Currency trading has many elements for a trader to get used to, including the forex trading platform, key market events and dates, the use of leverage and automation. Each forex broker differs in their quality of training and the level that training courses are aimed at.
FP Markets has twice won the Investment Trends award for best educational material. Their best feature is their video tutorial with approximately 100 lessons to build up traders’ knowledge from beginner to expert. There are also dedicated training courses dedicated to each level of trader experience. Mixed in are webinars held frequently, including one at the start of the week to discuss upcoming events that may impact the market. There are also trading e-books which are ideal for those who want to learn about forex, shares and CFD while travelling.
IG Markets, which is Australia’s largest retail foreign exchange broker was considered the second-best when it came to education. The IG Academy included interactive education, webinars, and seminars as well as a demo account to trade risk-free.
There are also articles, blogs, and exclusive videos provided by IG Markets. It these online resources combined with the in-person seminars they hold periodically across Australia, which was why this fx broker was considered the best in the category.
View IG Markets Review >>Visit IG Markets >>
CMC Markets are close behind IG Markets who also have a high market share when it comes to retail foreign exchange in Australia. They have similar forex training features as IG, including videos, demo accounts and videos. An extra feature worth downloading is their eBooks which cover a range of training topics. These are catered for those new to forex trading and intermediate traders. Another popular feature is The Artful Trader Podcast which is where experienced traders are interviews to hear their stories and tips. Training is multi-language applicable for Thailand forex brokers or German fx brokers.
View CMC Markets Review >>Visit CMC Markets>>
Pepperstone came third based on their online videos and the availability of a dedicated account manager who can assist with training forex traders. Smart trading tools also provide training and market information within the MT4 trading platform. This was followed by FXCM who have ‘After work’ seminars to educate and keep traders up-to-date with elements impacting markets.
There are two types of forex trading platforms. The first is a shared platform that is created by a software company and is shared by many forex brokers. The big advantage of a shared platform is that it reduces the barrier long-term to switching forex brokers, as there won’t be a need to re-learn the platform. The second option is a propriety forex trading platform that is exclusively created and offered by a single forex broker. The advantage of a propriety platform is that features unique to that fx broker can be integrated into the software.
Reviewing each forex broker’s trading platform, it was clear that two platforms, cTrader and MetaTrader were the leaders in the field based on their execution speeds, features and high adoption rate in the fx community making it easy to exchange trading strategies and programs (expert advisors) between traders.
MetaTrader 4 (MT4) by MetaQuotes is the most popular forex trading and analytical technology offered by forex brokers and used by retail foreign exchange traders. While the interface may seem old fashion, the platform is light and powerful, allowing for fast execution speeds. Traders can trade directly from charts, make pending order, instant executions of implement stop-loss orders.
It’s widely accepted that the analytical functions with the strength of MT4. There are nine interactive charts allowing traders to review quotes and react to price movements within currency markets. There are also 30 technical indicators and 23 analytics objects to assist in analysing the market.
Another advantage of MT4 is the built-in Market. This allows for automated strategies (Expert Advisors) to be purchased.
There are a plethora of Expert Advisor indicators and robots available for purchase. This can be done within the MT4 interface.
There is also functionality to copy deal automatically from other forex traders. There are free and paid signals that can be copied which vary based on logic, risk appetite resulting in differing profitability. You can compare MT4 brokers on your comparison page.
cTrader by Spotware is an all-in-one CFD and forex trading platform with enhanced tools and features. It is the second most popular platform and has an interface that is more modern and attractive compared to MetaTrader 4. In addition to the rich charts, there is also level II pricing, advanced order types and fast execution.
One of the most popular features of the platform is cTrader copy. This allows anyone to make strategic decisions and charge a fee for others to copy trades. Another is cTrader automate, which allows traders to create their own automated robots. Unlike MetaTrader 4 this is based on C# API to write the code with a test environment provided to simulate trades with the robot.
Other features of cTrader include:
cTrader overall is a technology-focused platform with enterprise-grade IBM hardware, ultra-low latency and those cross-connects liquidity providers. There has been over $40m USD invested in infrastructure, which has helped achieve 100% uptime over the past seven years.
The platform has 3ms internal processing time with over one million price updates each minute. View our list of the best cTrader brokers.
Pepperstone was given the most votes because the forex broker offers both MetaTrader 4 and cTrader. Commission fees for Razor accounts are low on all platforms:
The fx broker also offers advanced trading tools, allowing for enhanced features to enhance forex trading.
There are a number of factors that should be considered when selecting the top forex broker to suit your currency trading needs.
This comparison site was updated in April 2021 by the authors of compare forex brokers who have worked with the forex industry in the past. Only those currency brokers that are regulated were used in this comparison to help protect investors from poor quality operators overseas. Broker accounts were primarily chosen by their spreads and fees in this section, with additional options such as trading systems, leverage to filter by experience levels and leverage.
There are a number of guides to help select the right broker, including our top forex trading platform guide. You can also view our 5 effective trading tips, share vs currency trading guide, commodities and overall trading strategies. If you see any element (no matter how basic) that may require updating, feel free to contact the authors using the contact us form. We aim to update this site regularly and provide dates on each page of when the last update was. We recommend that the website and tables be used as a guide when formulating your trading forex strategies to help make your decision easier. However, you should always click on the ‘view website’ button and review the information on the site first to ensure the broker suits your trading needs.
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.