Forex brokers in the UK are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) with the best UK forex brokers having great spreads and forex trading platforms. Compare forex brokers based on our 2021 criteria, relevant for UK forex traders.
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The best FCA regulated forex brokers UK is the following.
In August 2021 the team compared the top FCA regulated forex brokers suitable for forex traders in the UK. Based on factors ranging from the forex trading platforms, customer service to fees Pepperstone was considered the best UK forex broker.
Our Pepperstone recommendation is based on the brokers:
Each month we compare the average spreads of the top forex brokers regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. There are two types of accounts compared. The first is the most popular for UK forex traders called the standard account. This is a no commission account where the forex broker fees are in-built into the spreads. This is the easiest way to factor in trading fees when trading forex or CFDs. The second account is often termed the ECN broker account (or Raw account) where a commission is charged based on volume plus spreads which are more market-based.
Below shows the standard account spreads in August 2021. As you will see Pepperstone is the lowest spread no commission forex broker with the best rates across most currency pairs.
Data taken from broker website. Accurate as at 01/08/2021
Again, most forex traders in the United Kingdom will select this type of account. There are no hidden fees associated with the standard account such as deposit or withdrawal fees. The main additional fee to be aware of relates to long-term positions (swap rates) which are based on the forex platform chosen.
The second trading account type (spreads + commissions) is compared below. The Pepperstone Razor account also has the lowest spreads of any FCA regulated broker.
Key features of the Pepperstone Razor account includes:
Pepperstone gives UK forex traders the choice of the three most popular forex trading platforms. This includes MetaTrader 4 for forex trading, MetaTrader 5 for CFD trading and cTrader for algorithmic trading. To ensure the faster execution speeds are reached on the MetaTrader platform, Pepperstone has partnered with Equinix who have servers in New York (next to Wall Street) to minimise latency speed. Equinix also has servers in London for cTrader traders making that platform even faster. This is why our testing using demo account showed that Pepperstone had the fastest execution speeds of any broker.
All three platforms are supported by their award-winning customer service which is based out of London with sister offices throughout the world for support outside of working hours. They offer the highest leverage available by the FCA including 500:1 for professional traders. Learn more about this on our Pepperstone leverage page. The broker also offers price improvement technology inbuilt into its ecosystem. While this doesn’t impact the spreads and commissions, it does impact the final price the order is filled. This could then be considered part of the brokerage charge for a CFD broker.
Price Improvement Technology works in three steps:
Fees should be a key factor when choosing a forex broker and based on August 2021 spreads Pepperstone is the clear winner. On most currency pairs the broker is the cheapest and their commissions are also competitive. The broker offers the most popular (and best) forex trading platforms including MetaTrader 4 and has award-winning customer service. The mix of the lowest spreads, technology and support makes Pepperstone the key winner for UK traders.
View Pepperstone Review >>Visit Pepperstone >>
The overall rating is based on review by our experts
CMC Markets offers both spread betting and CFD trading. For UK residents spread betting can provide some tax-free benefits when trading. When traders spread bet they are predicting the price movement with a ‘price per point’ determined. When they trade CFDs they trade the underlying asset with leverage.
Six financial services can be traded through spread betting or CFDs:
For retail clients, ESMA set leverage limits between 2:1 and 30:1 across both CFDs and spread betting. This applies to CMC Markets unless the individual is classified as a professional client. This makes them eligible as a CMC Pro client and they can receive up to 200:1 leverage. If your unsure if you should choose a broker for spreads betting or CFDs you can view our spread betting vs CFD trading guide.
Whether trading CFDs or spread betting, CMC Markets offers thousands of instruments from crypto to currencies. Spread betting is a key strength of CMC which is commission-free and has competitive spreads with a plethora of risk management tool that can prevent you from losing your money.
View CMC Markets Review >>Visit CMC Markets>>
IG is one of the oldest foreign exchange brokers in the world established in 1974. Based on revenue in 2019, it is considered the largest retail foreign exchange broker for both CFD broker and spread betting services. IG is listed on the FTSE 250 with over 1,500 staff worldwide. The company also offers other services including stockbroking, investment and institutional financial services.
IG has 22 offices in regions including:
The company operates in most forex markets and has accreditation with several regulatory bodies. In the UK this is the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which was formally the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Other regulated bodies IG group operate from including ASIC (Australia), CYSEC (Cyprus), and FSB (South Africa). There are also some of the few CFD providers to be regulated in the United States CFTC (Commodities and Futures Trading Commission) and NFA (National Futures Association). One of the few locations IG doesn’t have regulation is with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).
You can view the FCA regulated broker page to view a comprehensive list of brokers and view our key recommendations by category.
If you’re looking to open a Retail CFD account with the largest foreign exchange provider to avoid forex scams of unregulated, smaller players then IG is the right choice. As the largest worldwide broker, they offer a range of financial instruments, forex trading platforms, forex markets and retail investor account options.
View IG Markets Review >>Visit IG Markets >>
Most UK forex providers offer CFD trading. This means the trader doesn’t own the asset but trades the underlying price with leverage. Bitcoin ownership has grown in popularity quite considerably since 2010. eToro remains the pioneer when it comes to cryptocurrency CFD trading for three key reasons.
eToro offer just under 100 cryptocurrency CFDs including:
Bitcoin Popularity Up to August 2019
Unlike most CFD providers, eToro created its own trading platform that wasn’t primarily designed for currency trading. One key enhancement is news-feeds within the trading platform which can impact crypto movements. It’s enhancements like these which can be critical to navigating crypto CFD markets.
If you prefer to make trades based on other traders you can copy trade with eToro. You can select traders based on what CFDs they have traded from Bitcoin, ETFs to commodities. Their previous results are displayed and additional trading history to help determine which trader to copy based on future trades.
Overall, the range of cryptocurrencies CFDs offered by eToro, trading platform and the copy-trading feature is why eToro is the best broker of UK traders who want to focus on crypto. You can view the CFD broker UK page to compare all platforms in the category.
FxPro is one of the only forex brokers in the UK that has a specialist spread betting trading platform. The platform is called FxPro edge offering:
Spread betting is for UK residents only with the potential benefit that profits can be tax-free with no stamp duty. For more information view our spread betting strategy page. With FxPro having one of the lowest spread betting fees and best UK spread betting platform, they are the logical choice if you prefer to spread betting over CFDs trading.
View FxPro Review >>Visit FxPro >>
Those who want to trade forex for the first time or are new to CFDs trading should consider Plus500. There are four key reasons that Plus500 is designed for beginners traders.
Plus500 created their own forex platform to make it easy to trade forex as a beginner. The platform includes both a web platform and trading apps. This makes mobile trading realistic rather than having to be at home or in an office. The Webtrader can also be used on shared devices. The trading apps also work on both iOS or Android devices. You can compare the Plus500 platform on our UK best CFD trading platform page.
Plus500 has one of the best trader guides to teach traders how to navigate forex markets. This includes webinars, videos, technical analysis and real-time news.
Plus500 offers in-built features to help those new to CFD training manage risk. This includes ‘Close at Profit’ [Limit] or ‘Close at Loss’ [Stop loss] rates. There are also Trailing Stops and at a fee premium ‘Guaranteed Stops’. This final feature, in particular, can be useful as it ensures a trader doesn’t lose more than a pre-defined amount on a specific trade.
Plus500 offers more than just currency trading. In financial markets, you can start trading as CFDs range from indices, EFTs to even cannabis indices. None of the other top forex brokers offers many of these financial markets which beginner traders may be interested in trialling.
Overall, Plus500 is one of the top forex brokers for beginners based on its easy to use platform, risk management features and training guides.
View Plus500 Review >>Visit Plus500 >>
*Your capital is at risk ‘72% of retail CFD accounts lose money’
Axi (formally AxiTrader) focuses solely on the MetaTrader 4 forex trading platform. This is the world’s most popular forex platform offering the expert advisors marketplace. Through a demo account or live account with AxiTrader traders can create or purchase an expert advisor (EAs) which in some cases are free. Below shows a screenshot of the EAs marketplace.
Three key factors put AxiTrader ahead of their UK competitors when it comes to Automated CFD trading:
AxiTrader offers Tradeworks designed to test trading strategies. It also allows CFD traders to design, test and analyse trading strategies. This is preferred over MetaTrader 4’s EAs as no programming skills are required to make a trading strategy. The automation software is cloud-based designed for both forex and CFD trading. Tradeworks connects with the AxiTrader MetaTrader 4 account.
The other automated trading strategy provider AxiTrader offers is Unitedforextraders. This software training company focuses on managing expert advisors (EAs) for MetaTrader 4. This is ideal for those new or with limited experience when it comes to automated forex strategies. The trainers also help the EA installation onto your AxiTrader MT4 platform.
AxiTrader has partnerships with three VPN suppliers for the MetaTrader 4 forex platform. A Virtual Hosting service uses an external server to ensure your platform keeps running 24 hours a day and preventing downtime. Virtual Hosting is primarily used for those using automated trading strategies (Expert Advisors).
AxiTrader has a £0 minimum deposit. This isn’t just to open a demo account but a real money account as well with no funding fees. This is an important automated forex broker feature as traders may want to test small amounts on certain EAs prior due to the high risks involved and the complex instruments involved.
While automation may seem like a time-saving way to trade, it can often be manual intensive with the need to back-test robots regularly and refine them. You can see the time and costs associated with forex trading on our UK forex trading salary page.
When trading forex with a demo account to real money AxiTrader offer the best-automated trading through the MetaTrader 4 forex platform. By using the most popular trading platform worldwide its easy to create and purchase automated programs and the £0 minimum deposit, VPN options and trading tools make it the logical UK CFDs trading provider choice. You can learn more about forex timezones and automation on the UK forex trading hours page.
View AxiTrader Review >>Visit Axitrader >>
Swissquote offers two accounts that are spread only. This means that no commissions are charged when CFD trading making it easier to track brokerage costs. You can learn more about how UK forex brokers make money. The prime account in our best forex broker UK comparison had the lowest spreads of the non-commission category including:
The largest issue of the Prime trading account is the high minimum deposit requirement of €5,000.
You can read the full Swissquote review to learn about Swissquote Ltd which is a subsidiary of the Switzerland based bank. Overall, if you’re looking to trade higher volumes and looking for a spread-only broker, Swissquote is a strong option to trade with.
UK brokers charge both spreads and commissions. Spreads are the difference between the ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ price of a currency pair such as GBP/USD. A commission is a set fee based on the volume traded when currency trading. Beginner forex traders often choose a spread only retail CFD accounts which have no commissions but the spreads are widened so the broker makes money. View our Swissquote review to see the lowest fee spread only account.
More advanced forex traders prefer a spread and commission account which in most cases will lead to lower charges compared to a ‘spread only’ account. View our Pepperstone review which has the lowest fee account. There are other charges some UK foreign exchange brokers charge that includes overnight fee charges (for longer-term positions held), forex platform premium features, deposit and withdrawal charges. These vary by the UK online broker selected.
If you’re a UK resident selecting a forex broker you should following the following checklist:
Most FCA regulated brokers don’t offer sign-up bonuses and gimmicks and rather focus on customer service, low fees and a solid forex trading experience. All forex brokers offer a free demo account to test their platform and features while Pepperstone offers a discount on their brokerage for the initial trades.
Overall, it’s recommended to think long-term when choosing a broker rather than basing a decision on a short-term forex broker bonus.
No UK forex broker offers a true ECN trading account due to a number of factors. Rather, several brokers offer spread + commission accounts offering spreads similar to an ECN STP environment from 0.0 pips with no dealing desk.
The best forex account with the lowest spreads (ECN style spreads) is Pepperstone. The EUR/USD average spread is just 0.16 and the commission is 2.29 GBP per lot. View the full UK Pepperstone review to learn more.
The FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) sets limits on CFD trading for retail accounts of up to 30:1. All UK CFDs providers meet this restriction with the only exception if the individual qualifies for a professional account. You can view the top forex brokers worldwide that are regulated outside of the UK and may offer higher leverage.
The FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) is the regulator for CFD providers in the UK. This was formally the FSA (Financial Services Authority).
All the forex brokers UK shown on this page are regulated by the FCA with benefits for UK residences including:
A regulated broker also has requirements set by the FCA from marketing and advertising restrictions to the requirement to submit audited reports. Other locations to view FCA regulated brokers are on the FCA regulated forex broker guide, UK forex trading platforms page or the best forex brokers UK section which goes through the top forex brokers in more detail. This compare forex broker comparison didn’t consider non-FCA regulated brokers.
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.