Forex brokers in the UK are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) with the best UK forex brokers having low spreads, commissions and advanced forex trading platform. Compare forex brokers based on 2021 criteria that’s relevant for forex traders in the UK.
The best FCA regulated forex brokers in the UK by category are as follows.
Most forex brokers have two account types which impact brokerage. The first account type is a spread only account (non-commission trading account). Many fx brokers who only offer this account are ‘market makers’ and set the buy/sell prices of the forex pairs. The positive of this account type is that its straightforward when forex trading with brokerage priced into the trading. The option is a spread + commission CFDs account type offered by ECN forex brokers. Prices (spreads) with these accounts are set by banks and institutions (ECN) so rather the main brokerage source for the UK broker is the commission based on volume.
Pepperstone ‘Razor’ account is the best spread + commission forex trading account with:
Below compares the spreads of the most popular currency pairs traded by United Kindom forex traders. It shows the average spreads for most forex pairs with Pepperstone are lower than other CFDs brokers in the UK. The EUR/USD (in particular was 0.16) when last measured for their Razor account which is considered an ECN broker rate.
The second brokerage charge of low spread retail investor accounts are commission rates. This is a flat rate charged based on the volume traded. The rates shown below are per lot which is 100,000 base currency traded. This can be multiplied by two for a round turn (when a currency is traded back to the base currency). So for example from GBP to USD and back to GBP. Overall, as shown below the Pepperstone Razor account £2.29 is the best rate offered by FCA regulated forex brokers.
Pepperstone leverage is based on the FCA limitations for retail traders with the option to upgrade to a professional account. View our Pepperstone leverage page for more information.
Pepperstone 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. It works in three steps:
Another factor impacting the final price is slippage. This occurs when an fx broker execution speed is slow which means the price displayed is not the price executed. While no ECN broker can guarantee no slippage having the best technology and systems are a way to overcome this. Pepperstone has partnered with Equinix who have servers in New York (next to Wall Street) for MetaTrader 4 + 5 traders. Equinix also has servers in London for cTrader forex traders. These state of the art servers and close proximity to trading hubs is why Pepperstone has the fastest execution speeds leading to some of the lowest slippage rates of the brokers in the UK.
A comparison of FX brokers in the UK that offers spread plus commission accounts (ECN broker style accounts) shows Pepperstone has the lowest brokerage. This is across both the spreads and the commissions charged. In addition, there is an active trader program that can lead to a further 15% commission rebate. For these key factors, Pepperstone is recommended for forex traders looking to minimise their CFDs trading fees.
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 he 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 then eligible as a CMC Pro client and they can receive up to 200:1 leverage.
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 one 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).
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 crypto CFD trading. This means the trader doesn’t own cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin) but trades the underlying asset 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 April 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. 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.
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 to 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. 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 their easy to use the platform, risk management features and training guides.
View Plus500 Review >>Visit Plus500 >>
*Your capital is at risk ‘76.4% 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.
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 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.