The global foreign exchange (forex) market is the largest and most actively traded financial market in the world, by far. When looking for the ‘best’ forex broker, both beginners and experienced traders generally look for several key features and benefits. Among the most important of these are fees (including spreads and commissions), trading platform(s) (including software, web-based, mobile, charting and third-party platforms), customer support, trading education along with currency research, and trustworthiness.
Best for Forex
Our list of the top brokers for forex trading:
- CMC Markets
- London Capital Group (LCG)
- X-Trade Brokers (XTB)
Note: There are now only three forex-only brokers currently operating in the U.S. All three are represented on this list. Our winner, IG, is one of the largest brokers in the world but only just re-entered the U.S. market officially in February 2019. The other two brokers who operate in the U.S. are OANDA and Forex.com.
- Account Minimum: $0
- Fees: Minimum of 0.6 pips for EUR/USD
- Best for: Forex Trading
IG has been in the forex and CFD business for over 40 years. The company offers access globally to a comprehensive product line that includes forex, stock indices, individual equities, stock sectors, commodities, cryptocurrencies, bonds, and interest rates on a variety of professional-grade web-based and mobile trading platforms.
IG is the largest CFD dealer (based on trading revenue) with the largest number of active financial spread betting accounts in the UK. As noted, the company just began serving U.S. clients once again, in February 2019 (IG had operations in the U.S. previously before leaving). Its size allows it to offer some of the lowest spreads and commissions in the industry. IG Group is a FTSE 250 company with more than 195,000 clients worldwide.
No minimum account size
Regulated by the CFTC, FCA, ASIC, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore
Trade with a traditional broker-spread or the typically less expensive raw spread plus commission model
Research and news resources are only available by launching external web pages or applications
Educational offerings are fragmented and disorganized
Customer service representatives are knowledgeable but slow to respond. Hold times were unusually long.
- Account Minimum: $0
- Fees: 0.7 pip minimum for Forex, $10 stock trades
- Best for: New and low-skilled traders
CMC Markets offers competitive spreads that widen with larger trade and bet sizes. Dedicated sites for professionals and institutions highlight their commitment to higher skill and commitment levels, but it would be nice to see higher level perks, including rebates and the free API interface, offered to retail accounts. Even so, all account holders gain access to guaranteed stop losses, free bank wire withdrawals and other advanced features, lifting the broker into the top tier in several review categories.
Huge product catalog
Sophisticated order types
High US index CFD spreads
Limited security features
No copy/social trading platform
- Account Minimum: $0
- Fees: EUR/USD 1.3 pips, USD/JPY 1.1 pips
- Best For: Seasoned traders looking for a stellar desktop trading experience
OANDA is one of the earliest pioneers of the retail forex industry. Having roots in academia, the company built its reputation, product offerings, technology, and customer base to the point now that it’s one of only three forex-only brokers in the U.S., and also serves customers throughout the U.K., Singapore, Canada, and Australia. Since the company’s inception back in the 1990s, OANDA has been at the forefront of retail forex, offering the latest trading technology and services to a global customer base.
Key points about OANDA include the fact that it has a $0 minimum for live accounts, which is not too common for any type of broker, including forex-specific brokers. Also, the company is well known for its quality of trade execution and transparency when it comes to pricing and fees. Finally, OANDA has long focused on its trading technology, which includes its proprietary web-based and desktop platforms, as well as mobile and MetaTrader 4 options.
Accounts can be opened for as little as one dollar
Regulated by the CFTC, IIROC, FCA, ASIC, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore
Offers both a traditional broker spread and the typically less expensive raw spread plus commission model
Research and news resources are scattered
Education and webinars were fragmented and disorganized
Slow customer support
London Capital Group (LCG)
- Account Minimum: $0
- Fees: One pip minimum with EUR/USD
- Best for: Variety of asset classes
LCG provides access to a broad selection of CFDs and spread betting instruments across several different asset classes including forex, indexes, cryptocurrencies, commodities, bonds, and individual stocks. They offer competitively low spreads and no commissions. LCG also provides account holders with the benefit of negative balance protection (so traders will never lose more than the amount they have on deposit).
Connection between the app and the web version on the desktop was instantaneous
LCG's analysis and insights are higher quality than average
Top notch mobile app
No way to integrate third party tools into their platform
No backtesting or automated trading
X-Trade Brokers (XTB)
- Account Minimum: $250
- Fees: Standard account advertised spreads of .9 pips
- Best for: Access to cryptocurrency and forex pairs
XTB provides access to a variety of markets such as forex, shares, indices, metals, commodities and even cryptocurrencies. The company is regulated in the UK and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
XTB's spreads, trading costs, and account fees were about average for the industry overall; however, forex spreads were consistently better than average. A custom trading platform, xStation 5, and MetaTrader 4 were available for the desktop along with mobile applications.
XTB offers access to more than 1500 trading markets
Traders can explore the available markets through searching tools
XTB is registered with the FCA in the UK
Guaranteed stop losses are only available on the "basic" account type
XTB has a required initial investment of $250
- Account Minimum: $50
- Fees: Average EUR/USD spread is 1.3
- Best For: The very active forex trader
Forex.com, the primary brand of publicly-traded GAIN Capital (NYSE: GCAP), is also one of the first forex-specific brokers on the scene. Within the past several years, the company has acquired several businesses, some in the U.K. This includes the well-established CFD, forex, and spread-betting company, City Index. Because of this and other acquisitions, GAIN Capital has been able to acquire customers from across the globe and is an industry leader in most markets. This includes the U.S., where it currently edges out its primary competitor, OANDA, in terms of customers assets.
Forex.com has been busy at work in the past few years upgrading and revamping its trading platforms and related systems. As a result, the company’s technology, both for Forex.com and City Index, are one of its primary strengths. Additionally, GAIN Capital employs a global team of market analysts that provide clients with useful and constantly updated market insights. Besides the usual forex and CFD markets (outside of the U.S.), Forex.com also offers bitcoin for trading.
Access to forex, shares, bonds, indices, cryptocurrency, and commodity CFDs
Custom web and client trading platforms as well as MT4
Research coverage by global research team for U.S., European, and Asian markets
Guaranteed stops may be available for a fee on some markets
Average forex and shares trading costs
Lots of educational resources but navigation to and from these sources is tricky
- Account Minimum: AUD $200
- Fees: Advertised spreads "from 0.0"
- Best for: Australians looking for top quality
Pepperstone is an Australian broker based out of Melbourne. It offers competitive, full-featured trade execution through multiple platforms, including MetaTrader 4, browser-based entry, and mobile devices. Customers can choose among 150+ tradable instruments in a large range of asset classes (including forex, index CFDs, commodities, metals, and cryptocurrencies) across the globe through a diverse range of account types that include commission-free execution and active trader benefits. A recommended AUD $200 minimum deposit supports small trading accounts; extensive research and educational resources build users' skill levels and profit-opportunity recognition.
EUR/USD and index CFD executions offer industry-leading rates
MetaTrader 4, cTrader, WebTrader, and mobile access
Multiple liquidity venues with no dealing desk to trade against clients
Unclear which volume tiers will reduce execution costs
No single stock CFDs
Investopedia is dedicated to providing investors with unbiased, comprehensive reviews and ratings of online brokers. Our reviews are the result of six months of evaluating all aspects of an online broker’s platform, including the user experience, the quality of trade executions, the products available on their platforms, costs and fees, security, the mobile experience and customer service. We established a rating scale based on our criteria, collecting over 3,000 data points that we weighed into our star scoring system.
In addition, every broker we surveyed was required to fill out a 320-point survey about all aspects of their platform that we used in our testing. Many of the online brokers we evaluated provided us with in-person demonstrations of their platforms at our offices.
Our team of industry experts, led by Theresa W. Carey, conducted our reviews and developed this best-in-industry methodology for ranking online investing platforms for users at all levels. Click here to read our full methodology.