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Forex Brokers Checklist
It’s common sense that your account should be safer with the regulated brokers, it’s also clear that The Financial Conduct Authority, FCA (UK) or National Futures Association, NFA (US) are preferred regulators to, say, Vanuatu Financial Services Commission, FSC or self-regulatory bodies like FMRPC.
Unfortunately, the strictest regulation does not guarantee a positive trading experience, otherwise we wouldn’t send our members periodic notifications on the outrageous regulators findings like this one.
Advice. To stay informed please Join Forex Peace Army and stay subscribed to our Core Members List, also get our 10 World’s Worst Forex Brokers Report
This is the reason why we created Forex Peace Army in 2006. In the past retail forex industry was a barely regulated “wild west” with traders reviews and community discussion as the only source of truthful information about the companies.
We witnessed the very positive changes with regulators in the recent years, but this did not diminish the role of consumer reviews. Our members indicate problems with companies months and even years before regulators step in and dealt with their dirty operations.
What about professional broker reviews some other sites have? Please ask yourself, why would professionals spend time to write these long, well-illustrated, and comprehensive reviews? Additionally, ask yourself, why professional reviews tend to nearly always be overall positive, only occasionally mentioning minor flaws. The obvious answer is that these “professionals” are looking to get compensated for their time.
Traders’ reviews may not look as appealing as professional reviews, but they are unbiased, current (describe what is going on with the company now), and based on actual experiences with the broker. Forex Peace Army is committed to keep its broker reviews as honest as humanly possible; our editors are extremely experienced and have an advanced suite of custom coded tools to enable them to screen out fake, paid, self-promoting reviews as well as fake negative reviews from competitors.
Advice. If you know the name of the forex broker start typing it the “Search by name” box above or browse the list of all brokers. Read the reviews and especially pay attention to the following points:
- ease of withdrawals
- ease of deposit
- cancellation of profitable trades
- ease of account opening and verification
- execution speed and reliability
- stop hunt
- professionalism of support
Additionally, please search our Scam Alerts Folder for recent traders complaints, and pay attention to alerts posted on review pages.
Carefully reading and understanding trading conditions of a particular forex broker is an important part of research that unfortunately often gets overlooked. Let us give you a few examples:
- if you are planning to use a scalping strategy, high spreads may render your strategy unprofitable
- if you are planning to profit on news events, pay attention to special trading condition during major economic announcements
- if your forex robot requires high leverage and low margin requirements, this combination may not be available with this particular broker
Other important factors to research:
- Minimum deposit
- Availability of currency pairs, precious metals, oil, crypto currencies
- Commissions and Fees
- Competitive rollover fees
- Trading restrictions, FIFO, minimum open trade time, news trading restrictions, arbitrage restrictions, etc.
Advice. Always carefully read and understand the forex broker’s trading conditions before opening a trading account. Do not hesitate to ask support if you don’t understand something or have additional questions
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Next, practice on a demo account at the broker. Do sufficient testing of your trading strategy, forex expert advisor, forex signal service or whatever else you are planning to use with this particular broker. Remember, profitability on a demo account does not always mean a live account will be profitable. Losses on a demo account may underestimate losses on a live account.
If you are happy with everything so far, open small live forex trading account and test it again (including the withdrawal process). Increase the account size gradually.
Keep an eye on the newer reviews for your broker here on Forex Peace Army. Also, after you’ve tested the forex broker’s live trading system thoroughly, please leave a review to share your experience and help other traders.
4. Trading platforms.
There are a few common trading platforms like Metatrader, cTrader, TradingView Web Platform and also proprietary ones developed and maintained by particular fx brokers like Dukascopy’s Jforex (and others too numerous to name here).
A common trading platform like MT4 or MT5 gives you access to the marketplaces full or free and paid trading signals, expert advisors, and other forms of trading ideas. In-house developed platforms often give you access to broker-specific features (like API access for algorithmic trading or connection with Social Trading applications or Money Managers).
Advice. Common platforms like MT4 are a good start for beginner traders. You can download the software with your PC, Mac, or mobile device. You will be able to try many brokers without additional learning curve of proprietary trading platforms and enjoy extensive array of indicators, and trading strategies available through the marketplace.
Who does not like bonuses, freebies, or promotional offers? We do too, but urge you to read the fine print. Some bonus terms are reasonable while many others are traps designed to keep you from withdrawing your money.
Always read and make a copy of the bonus terms before accepting any bonus from a forex broker.
6. Icing on the cake.
As this niche gets more competitive, to attract traders forex brokers often add free useful (and expensive if purchased separately) tools and services for account holders that may include:
- Educational materials for novice traders.
- Market news and webinars
- Forex expert market commentary
- Economic calendars
- Calculators and trading tools
- Technical analysis tools
- Personalized trading strategy and market advice
- Reuters or AP/Dow Jones financial newswires
- Automated strategy builders
You are certainly encouraged to take advantage of such offers.
Advice. Before paying for expensive trading tools or services check if they are available with a good forex broker for free, at substantial discount, or with some minimum account balance.
Forex Real Profit EA
This article is obsolete and no longer maintained.
I must admit I am not a huge fan of scalpers in general and I’m even less attracted to pre-Asian session scalpers due to the liquidity problems that can be observed during that time of the day, problems that are often reflected into widened spread, slippage and requotes. I guess my adversity is mostly caused by the current state of the EA market: all over the globe there were a lot of really bad floods lately and it sure seems like the EA scene is trying to keep up by getting flooded with scalpers. Most of these are clones of Megadroid or Fapturbo and instead of buying one of them, you’re probably better off trading blindfolded by touching the chart to establish direction. However, every now and then an original scalper shows up and I believe Forex Real Profit EA to fall into this category.
By now you must have figured out that it’s a pre-Asian session scalper: the EA is supposed to trade between 21 and 23 GMT depending on the US DST but more details on that later. As a parenthesis, if you were wondering, US DST is in effect between the second Sunday of March and the first Sunday of November.
The robot comes equipped with set files for trading EURUSD, USDCHF, USDCAD, EURCHF, EURGBP, GBPCHF and EURCAD on the M15 timeframe, the main differences between the pairs being the trend filter usage, the take profit target and the allowed maximum spread. The manual also mentions CADCHF as a profitable symbol but because I received no set file for that and because Dukascopy does not have tick data for it (not to mention that many brokers don’t carry it) I decided to skip backtesting this particular currency pair.
It lurks in the market, patiently waiting for its trading time and it silently weaves a channel out of several Bollinger bands and some other arcane wizardry… When its trading session arrives, signals are calculated based on the current channel and the trigger is pulled one way or the other; pretty much like many other scalpers, the major difference being that the whole shebang comes out rather profitable.
As security measures, Forex Real Profit EA has some basic built-in news avoidance in the form of hardcoded future dates with news releases of major importance and it also has the aforementioned trend filter that is supposed to weed out trades against the underlying trend.
The stop loss is set at 100 pips for all the pairs it runs on, but the take profit setting is varied, ranging from 9 on USDCHF and EURCHF to as high as 30 pips on EURCAD. This gives a calculated risk:reward ratio that ranges from around 11:1 to around 3:1 depending on the currency you’re running it on. However, most of the time, the EA will close its positions a lot before they reach the stop loss if the market is going against it, resulting in a risk:reward ratio observed on live accounts of around 3:1.
The expert advisor has no issues with the NFA rules because it doesn’t open more than one trade at once for each currency pair, so it’s very broker friendly from this point of view but it’s quite sensitive to spread (and consequently to slippage and requotes) as you will be able to see from the backtests. The author recommends running it on an ECN broker and for good reason.
It’s worth mentioning that the EA has a short trade duration, the majority of trades closing in less than 2 hours.
Once again, we are facing a product website that is rather simple, without any of the marketing bullshit that you probably got used to, such as “live” videos, fake testimonials and the like. There seems to be a trend in this sense: most profitable EAs that I reviewed lately have sites without a lot of marketing crap.
I have to confess: the simple, friendly website and the live results are the main factors that ultimately determined me to write the review, with a focus on its proven live performance. Speaking of which, there are two live accounts featured there and I am going to take the liberty to add their widgets here.
First, we have an Alpari UK account that’s running for a bit longer than one year at the time of this writing (it’s active since early February 2020) with a total return of almost 80% and a drawdown a bit over 6%, having a risk/reward ratio of 3.2:1 and a profit factor of 1.56:
Second, we have an MB Trading account running Forex Real Profit EA since 18.05.2020, which must have been running something else before the starting date of the forward test, resulting in an “incomplete statement” message on mt4i if you check out the details. It’s worth noting that since it’s an MB Trading account, it’s running with the maximum allowed leverage of 1:50. This one has a banked return of over 90% in two thirds of the time that the first needed to get to 80%, but it also has an increased drawdown of 16.8% to go with that:
Aside from these, there are a few 2000-2020 backtests (well, 2007-2020 for EURCAD and 2003-2020 for GBPCHF) and a demo version of the robot which can be downloaded by registering on the forum.
There’s a bunch of time settings that allow you to configure the trading session of the EA with a minute resolution as well as an auto GMT feature. If you want to experiment with optimization, you have everything you need: the stop loss distance, the take profit target and the time settings. You can, of course, change the lot size manually or configure a risk and enable money management. By default, the EA set files are configured with risk 3, which is a rather sensible value that I will use on the live forward test account.
Even though it’s not recommended, you can disable the “hard” SL & TP and let the EA use its internal dynamically calculated values. You can also play with the maximum allowed spread and slippage but I wouldn’t set those any higher than they are.
There’s an InvisibleMode setting that lets you run the EA with the SL & TP controlled fully on the client side, which you should only enable if your broker seems shady.
As I mentioned in the strategy description, there’s also a trend filter that can be enabled or disabled, but what’s really interesting is that even though it is already NFA-compliant, the EA has an NFA option that allows running it with other EAs on a broker that implements the NFA restrictions in the client. If you enable this setting, the EA will not attempt to open positions that would hedge existing trades controlled by other EAs.
The last of the interesting parameters is a setting for the account free margin protection. This configures a threshold and Forex Real Profit EA will not open any additional trades if margin usage gets there. I imagine this setting can get really handy with 1:50 leverage. It defaults to 75% so the EA should be quite safe regardless of your broker.
Outside the USA DST (so during the winter), the author recommends running it on two charts, one using 21-22 GMT as its trade interval and the other 22-23 GMT. To this end, two set files with different magic numbers are supplied for each pair. During the USA DST (summertime, starting mid-March and ending early November), the author recommends running it on a single chart with double risk, between 21 and 22 GMT.
Naturally, I ran into some difficulties with backtesting this one because of the whole DST thing. I asked the author and the recommendation was to run it on the 21-22 interval all around the year assuming DST is enabled, which I’m pretty sure it is for history center data, so that was the first thing I did: I ran some 10 year backtests with the 21-22 GMT setting file to get a vague first impression. Call me Doubting Thomas if you will, but I did not stop there: I also ran the same backtests with the 22-23 GMT set file and finally ended up running all kinds of backtests with all the set files and you’re going to see the results below. Be prepared to add a lot of wear and tear to your mousewheel while scrolling down through this article. If you didn’t get a coffee, now’s the time to go for it. Also get a snack while you’re at it.
Moving on, I used the default settings, disabling AutoGMT and adjusting the operating hours to accommodate the broker GMT offset. The FXT files were created and performed in a GO Markets terminal. For the spreads, I used the GO Markets averages for the Asian session for the last couple of weeks, not only because that’s where I opened the live forward test account that runs Forex Real Profit EA but also because it suits the purpose: the spreads are good, although a bit higher than ECN spreads, which is perfect since there’s no commission in these history center backtests.
Just as a note, due to the large amount of backtests in this article, I will refrain from commenting each of them individually.
Seeing the charts next to each other like that, it quickly becomes apparent that the 22-23 interval performs way better than 21-22, with the small exception of GBPCHF where it brought a little less profit. However, that exception just goes to confirm the rule: it had an overall smoother balance curve. But let’s not jump to any conclusions yet; the above backtests were performed using Metaquotes history center data which is of a rather poor quality.
The drawdown was very low in all backtests, but it can be seen that everywhere (except the GBPCHF backtests again) the relative drawdown resulted from running Forex Real Profit EA on the 21-22 GMT interval is higher than the drawdown on the 22-23 interval. The maximum observed was 7.32% on EURUSD 21-22 versus 4.77% on EURUSD 22-23.
My next step would naturally be backtesting on tick data and here’s where I ran into a problem: there’s no DST for the Dukascopy historical data. So, to be able to properly do this, I proceeded to add DST capabilities to the script that exports the FXT files, resulting in an update that is now available for download on the tick data page. If you were wondering earlier how come I know exactly when does the US DST start and end, you have your answer now: it’s because I had to do some research for this whole thing. The result is that the script now supports enabling DST in the FXT file by the US convention or alternatively by the European rules.
Since it’s recommended to run Forex Real Profit EA on an ECN broker, I attempted to reproduce the ECN conditions as closely as possible. So, in addition to enabling DST, this meant creating the FXT files with a commission that I set to 0.8 pips and with the normalized max spread found on the ECN server of FxOpen throughout the Asian session during the past couple of weeks. Please note that I used the normalized maximum spread, not the average, so the tests running with fixed spread and commission are really some kind of a worst case scenario. If you’re wondering how I got the spread info, it’s related to another project of mine which I will likely unveil sometime during the following couple of months.
In addition to the backtests with commission and fixed spread, I also ran the same backtests with the GO Markets average session spreads and without commission to see what the difference would be between ECN and non-ECN. If that’s not enough, I also ran the backtests with 0.8 pips commission and real spread data. All of these are both on the 21-22 GMT interval as well as on the 22-23 GMT interval.
The tick data backtests were ran with AutoGMT set to false and with the default trading hours, the GMT offset of the data being 0 (well, except for DST when the data had an offset of UTC+1 to ensure a correct operation of the EA).
I will try to group the trades by pair and time interval so you can easily compare the results.
EURUSD 21-22 GMT
EURUSD 22-23 GMT
USDCHF 21-22 GMT
USDCHF 22-23 GMT
USDCAD 21-22 GMT
USDCAD 22-23 GMT
EURCHF 21-22 GMT
EURCHF 22-23 GMT
GBPCHF 21-22 GMT
GBPCHF 22-23 GMT
EURGBP 21-22 GMT
EURGBP 22-23 GMT
EURCAD 21-22 GMT
EURCAD 22-23 GMT
The first thing that I looked for and confirmed is that the 22-23 GMT backtests are indeed yielding much better results than their 21-22 GMT counterparts. This time even the GBPCHF one is better. In light of these tests, I believe 22-23 GMT to be easily the better time interval to run the EA.
Important edit 10.05.2020: According to the users (see comments below) and the author, in light of the recent changes (there were several new versions since I wrote the article) the 21-22 GMT interval is now better for the EA. I have changed the hourly interval of my forward test and I will let it trade using its default time interval for the time being, at least until I get a chance to do some more backtests of my own with the latest version.
Let’s take a look at the differences between the simulated ECN backtests (lower spread with 0.8 pips commission) and the STP backtests (higher spread, no commission). In many cases, the STP backtests came out better. Why? Because for pairs with low spread such as EURUSD, the 0.8 pips commission brings the cost per trade above the costs per trade for an STP broker. One thing to keep in mind when performing this comparison is that the spreads I used for the ECN broker were normalized maximum values while for the NDD/STP broker they were average. We are comparing the worst ECN case to the average STP case, so more or less peanuts and apples, but in the end, if we were performing the same procedure on average versus average I believe STP would come in not far behind. The question that naturally follows is: seeing these differences, is it really worth to run it on an ECN broker? And my answer would be: yes, as long as you have a high enough balance to afford using money management with a lotsize increment of 0.1.
Moving on, let’s compare the real spread backtests against the fixed spread backtests. In every single case, things were quite a lot worse and I’m asking myself: how come? Like I mentioned in the EURClimber review, it is known that the Dukascopy historical data spreads are wider than the current spreads of the ECN brokers, since the Dukascopy data is quite old and the spreads back in 2007 were not what they are today. Yet I wanted to see what is the average spread that’s causing this to happen so I ended up writing a small EA for this. When backtested, this EA calculates a dynamic spread average for a selected time period and keeps spamming the log with it. Just in case anyone needs it, it’s available for download.
I’ll create a small spread table with all the spreads I used and the values resulted from backtesting the AverageSpread EA mentioned above on the FXT files using Dukascopy spreads. Once more, the ECN spreads are the FxOpen normalized maximal spreads from the Asian session, while the STP spreads are the GO Markets average spreads for the Asian session.
|Pair||Time interval||ECN spread||STP spread||Dukascopy average||Dukascopy normalized max|
It’s easily visible that in the very best case the average Dukascopy spread was as big as the normalized ECN max spread for the whole session, not just that interval. Moreover, this was the better case: the 21-22 interval. The spreads for the 22-23 interval are so much higher, it’s scary. As it seems, unfortunately, the real Dukascopy spreads are not very useful to us since that’s definitely not the spreads that we are trading today. It’s only natural since some of the data is almost 4 years old already, but from now on I will think twice before backtesting an EA using historical spread data, simply because the trading conditions nowadays are so much better. In conclusion, we might as well ignore the real spreads backtests I ran.
I wasn’t going to stop here, though. What, you thought backtest-fest was over? Nope, you’re not getting away that easily. Since it has taken me a long time to write this, it should also take a long time to read it. Speaking of which, I’m cooking this article for about 2 weeks already and I ran over 100 backtests in total.
So, as you might remember, before the throng of backtests I mentioned that the author recommends running both the setting file for 21-22 GMT and the setting file for 22-23 on two different charts outside DST (so during wintertime). And here I was, facing a new problem: how do I selectively backtest an EA on a certain period of the year? For some reason, it didn’t occur to me immediately that I can simply omit the tick data for the DST period of the year when generating the FXT, but once I came up with this solution, all it took was a small modification to the scripts and I was able to export some gimped FXT files and perform the backtests only on the desired period of the year. Of course, once again I proceeded to backtest both the 21-22 set and the 22-23 set to compare the results a bit. I only ran these on ECN data because, after all, I just want to compare the two time intervals against each other.
EURUSD – outside DST
USDCHF – outside DST
USDCAD – outside DST
EURCHF – outside DST
GBPCHF – outside DST
EURGBP – outside DST
EURCAD – outside DST
And now it’s settled. With the notable exception of EURCAD, all other pairs performed visibly better on the 22-23 GMT time interval even when running exclusively outside DST.
Since it would be completely redundant to run the EA twice with the same settings, I ended up with a decision: even though I go with the officially recommended settings for most of the EAs I review, I will use my own settings in this case. I will run Forex Real Profit EA on a single chart, using the 22-23 GMT time interval all around the year. As for the risk, I will use 3 as supplied in the original setting files; it’s a very sensible value although the gains will likely not be spectacular.
To finally bring an end to the backtesting section and to give you some form of results that is easily digestible, I proceeded to merge the strategy reports for all 7 pairs for the 22-23 time interval (once again, we’ve determined that this one yields far better results) from the simulated ECN backtests into a single statement.
Real profit EA 5.11, aggregated ECN simulated backtests 2007-2020, time interval 22-23 GMT
I take pride into being sincere, so once more I’ll be totally honest with you: I’ve had my doubts about Forex Real Profit EA due to the performance in the backtests using tick data with real spread. In spite of spending a very long time writing code for this article and backtesting, I was somewhat unsure whether I should write a review or not, at least until I measured the real spreads in the backtests and found out that they’re much higher than the spreads offered by brokers nowadays. On top of that, all my doubts were gone with the wind as soon as I’ve taken one more look at the live account statements featured on the product website. On Alpari, it has over one year, over 1000 trades and over 1000 pips – now that’s a truly impressive performance.
Still, it’s obviously a very picky robot when it comes to spreads, so if you decide to buy it, you should be very careful where you run it. Another thing that is to be expected is different performance from broker to broker. Even the author’s live forward tests are exhibiting very different trades, so this will be the norm rather than the exception.
The EA is sold as a yearly subscription priced at $199. While this may seem somewhat steep at the first glance, it’s relatively low when compared to the almost $40 per month that you have to cough up for KangarooEA or EURClimber. The refund policy for Forex Real Profit EA is 30 days no questions asked. Coupled with the yearly subscription model, this makes me think that the author is in for the long run.
As for my other recent reviews, I am attaching a live forward test account to this article. Even though it’s definitely going to be eclipsed by the author’s live accounts, I believe it’s important to have an independent live forward test. This time, since the EA is very spread-sensitive, I used a GO Markets L-Plate account. For now, it’s running v5.11 with risk 3 and with the set files that enable operation between 22 and 23 GMT. The forward test was started on 23.02.2020 and any updates to its configuration will be posted on the forward tests page
Edit 25.02.2020: This is actually an older account that I used for forward testing a different EA some 1 year ago. I now configured myfxbook to correctly start analyzing starting from the date when Forex Real Profit EA was started on it. If you’ve seen a weird balance curve with a lot of trades, that was the reason.
Details and links
Version used in backtesting: 5.11 demo
Pairs: EURUSD, USDCHF, USDCAD, EURCHF, EURGBP, GBPCHF, EURCAD
Forex Real Profit EA homepage
Buy Forex Real Profit EA
Best Forex Brokers for 2020
The ForexBrokers.com annual forex broker review (four years running) is the most cited in the industry. With over 50,000 words of research across the site, we spend hundreds of hours testing forex brokers each year. How we test.
Are you looking to speculate that the Euro (EUR) currency will go up in value against the US Dollar (USD)? If so, you will want to trade (or spread bet) the EUR/USD currency pair. The forex market is the largest and most liquid market in the world, representing every global currency with trading conducted 24 hours a day, five days a week.
To trade forex, you need an online broker. Trading with a trusted forex broker is crucial for success in international currency markets. As a currency trader or investor, you may have specific needs related to which platform, tool, or research requirements you have. Understanding your investment style can help determine which fx broker will be best for you.
Each year, our team here at ForexBrokers.com spends five months testing the biggest names in foreign exchange and assembles a guide to the best forex brokers for forex and CFDs trading. Here are our findings for 2020.
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 69-78% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Best Forex Brokers
Here’s a breakdown of some of the best forex brokers in the world.
- IG – Best Overall
- Saxo Bank – Best VIP client experience
- CMC Markets – Best web platform, most currency pairs
- Dukascopy – Well-rounded offering
- TD Ameritrade FX – Excellent trading platform, US only
- City Index – Excellent all around offering
- FOREX.com – Great platforms and pricing
- XTB – Best customer service, great platform
- FXCM – Well-rounded offering
Best Overall – Visit Site
Regulated and trusted across the globe, IG offers traders an extensive list of tradeable products, excellent trading and research tools, industry-leading education, and competitive rates. This fantastic all-round experience makes IG the best overall broker in 2020. (76% of retail CFD accounts lose money.) Read full review
Best VIP client experience – Visit Site
For traders that can afford the USD 10,000 minimum deposit (GBP 500 for the UK), Saxo Bank offers competitive pricing, excellent trading platforms, brilliant research, reliable customer service, and over 40,000 instruments to trade. (72% of retail CFD accounts lose money.) Read full review
Best web platform, most currency pairs
Through its offices regulated in major global financial centers, CMC Markets offers traders a wide range of financial products with excellent pricing and its Next Generation trading platform, which is packed with innovative trading tools and charting. Read full review
Thanks to its JForex platform suite, Dukascopy provides forex traders industry-leading trading tools and market research, which includes our favorite mobile app for 2020. Drawbacks include terrible customer service and a narrow offering of tradeable markets. Read full review
Excellent trading platform, US only
With nearly 80 currency pairs to trade alongside a plethora of trading tools and research, TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform provides US-based forex traders a winning experience. Read full review
Excellent all around offering – Visit Site
Beyond its extensive range of products, multi-asset traders confidently choose City Index for competitive spreads, great platform options, premium research tools, and reliable customer service, all under the backing of GAIN Capital, which is one of the largest retail brokers globally. (71% of retail CFD accounts lose money.) Read full review
Great platforms and pricing – Visit Site
FOREX.com delivers an excellent trading experience for forex and CFD traders across the globe. With competitive pricing, full-feature trading platforms, comprehensive market research, and a robust mobile app, FOREX.com caters to traders of all experience levels. (69% of retail CFD accounts lose money.) Read full review
Best customer service, great platform – Visit Site
As a trusted multi-asset broker regulated in several major financial centers, XTB provides a well-rounded, competitive offering. Highlights include outstanding customer service and the xStation 5 trading platform, which delivers a great experience. (77% of retail CFD accounts lose money.) Read full review
While its range of tradeable markets is narrow and pricing is just average for everyday trading, FXCM caters to multiple trader types. High-volume traders, algorithmic traders, and, overall, traders that appreciate robust trading tools alongside quality market research will find FXCM to be a good fit. Read full review
Best Forex Brokers for Low Costs
Forex trading costs are not easy to break down. Reasons why trading costs can be impacted: bid/ask spreads can vary across venues (because forex is decentralized), forex spreads may be either fixed or variable (floating). Also, variable spreads may widen or narrow (vary) at different rates across brokers.
Furthermore, execution policies vary across firms in terms of how orders are processed (slippage/rejections), even when all else is equal. Brokers may be acting as market makers (dealers) to execute your trades or acting as agents for execution (relying on other dealers to do so for them). Forex spreads may include a round-turn commission. Also, not all brokers publish their average spread data, and for those who do – not all brokers record their average spread over the same time-frames, making it difficult to make an accurate comparison.
To assess brokers, we take into consideration how much beginners, average traders, and even more seasoned traders would pay, looking at average spreads for standard forex contracts (100,000 units) as well as mini accounts (10,000 units) and micro accounts (1,000 units), where applicable. We then calculate the all-in cost by including any round-turn commission that is added to prevailing spreads.
When it comes to competitive all-round pricing, Saxo Bank took first place as the best broker in the Commissions and Fees category. Saxo Bank offers the most competitive all-in cost to trade, considering there are no added commissions or fees. For example, Saxo Bank’s average spread was just 0.6 pips on the EUR/USD pair for the 30 days ending October 10th, 2020. It’s worth noting Saxo Bank does also offer a commissions-based pricing model available for traders, which includes discounts for high-volume traders, and pricing can vary by region.
In second place is IG. From October 28th through November 22nd, average spreads at IG for the EUR/USD stood at 0.73 pips. While many other brokers may advertise lower pricing, factors we took into consideration include the maximum trade size and overall position size that IG allows, which helped the firm place among the best in this category.
While the all-in cost to trade can be critical for many traders, it is essential to look at the whole picture in terms of how a broker’s overall offering could best suit your needs. What are the average spreads for the account types offered? How will differences in margin requirements or execution type available affect my forex trading volumes and related trading costs? These are just two questions that can help traders compare key differences between offerings.
Best Forex Trading Platforms
Forex trading platforms are the modern gateway to investing in international currency markets. Regardless of your trading style or preferred multi-asset instrument, the platform technology you use affects nearly every aspect of your trading experience. From accessing research to analyzing news events, performing technical analysis on charts, and efficiently placing trades, using a proper forex trading platform makes a difference.
Over the past decade, forex trading platform technology has continued to evolve steadily across devices, with a shift from desktop to web, and then to mobile. From among the 30 forex brokers we tested this year, it was clear that the best forex platforms continued to innovate. All in all, the best forex trading platforms provide customers a robust, feature-rich, seamless experience across all devices.
IG is our number one recommendation for traders that desire an excellent platform experience. From technical analysis on charts to integrated trading signals, streaming news, and premium research, IG has done an excellent job making everything on its platform compact and easily customizable for traders. Alongside a light-mode and dark-mode option, users can also create multiple workspaces, and content is cleanly categorized across asset classes and market sectors. No question, in 2020, IG’s platform set the bar for the industry.
Saxo Bank took second place thanks to its highly refined SaxoTraderGO platform and its new SaxoTraderPRO platform, which is available for desktop, web, and mobile. Saxo Bank is also our top choice in the Ease of Use category, as it has nearly perfected the user-interface design in a highly-efficient platform. Highlights include excellent charting, which fully syncs across devices and includes integrated pattern-recognition with trading signals. Whether trading spot forex or options on FX, Saxo Bank enables traders to access 40,000 markets and offers a complete package.
Selecting the best forex platform for you will depend on a myriad of factors. First, do you prefer a web-based environment or desktop download? Next, consider how important tools such as charting or automated trading are to you. Available order types and other unique tools and advanced features are also items to keep in mind. Narrow down your top picks, then try each platform out through a demo account to finalize your choice.
Best International Offering
Foreign exchange markets are open 24 hours a day, five days a week. Having the ability to react quickly to geopolitical and economic news events through one universal platform, in real-time, is vital. Why? Financial markets, including forex and more recently even cryptocurrencies, are highly interconnected.
In the early 2000s, brokers used to concentrate on offering just one asset class, for example, forex, to their customers. Today, trading platforms are no longer just for trading forex or CFDs; instead, multi-asset offerings are now industry standards among all the most significant online brokers. That said, the range of products and markets you can trade still varies considerably across firms.
When it comes to the best international offering, IG maintained its first-place podium position year-over-year, thanks to offering over 17,000 tradable instruments, including 93 forex pairs. IG also invokes trust, thanks to its slew of global regulatory licenses, which includes licenses from top-tier jurisdictions such as the US, UK, and Switzerland. In addition to forex and CFDs, IG also provides access to global stock exchanges through its share dealing account offering.
US-headquartered Interactive Brokers (IBKR) took second place, boasting a wide range of top-tier regulatory licenses. Best suited to professional traders, Interactive Brokers provides traders access to 7,400 CFDs, 105 forex pairs, a list global exchange-traded products, US-traded bitcoin futures, and much more. Overall, Interactive Brokers (IBKR) offers traders access to 120 market centers across 31 difference countries.
Best Forex Research
To trade profitably, thorough research content and tools to find and analyze investment opportunities is crucial. Beyond news headlines and an economic calendar, leading forex brokers combine third-party content with in-house research, including fundamental news and technical analysis.
Within the trading platform, research tools are directly integrated. Research tools include daily or weekly market recaps and analysis, live trading rooms, integrated pattern-recognition tools for news events and charts, screeners, heat maps, and sentiment indicators.
IG took the first place position for research, with a broad range of tools available through its web platform and numerous in-house analysts and third-party content. Highlights include its exclusive streaming video, IG TV, along with a vast array of daily blog updates and detailed posts from a team of global analysts. Additionally, IG’s DailyFx site continues to be a leader for retail traders seeking educational and research material.
Saxo Bank came in the second place position as the best broker for forex research in 2020. While many brokers struggle to organize research for their customers, Saxo Bank does a fantastic job centralizing the research across its platform suite and offering content that is rich with insights. For example, with its podcast series, Saxo Bank incorporates commentary from its top market analyst and makes audio recordings available on Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, and SoundCloud.
When choosing a forex broker for its FX research, remember that quality is just as important as quantity. The best forex brokers provide a great blend of in-house market analysis as well as tier-1 quality third-party research.
Best Forex Trading Apps
While nearly all forex brokers have offered mobile apps for years, the difference in quality between a great app and a mediocre app is vast.
To determine the best forex brokers for mobile trading in 2020, we focused on identifying mobile experiences that were bug-free, cleanly designed, and provided a wide range of features. Additionally, we looked for brokers who have been able to create a seamless experience between their mobile apps and their desktop and web-based platforms.
Dukascopy Bank again held its first-place position year-over-year, as its JForex Trader app enables traders to run algorithms straight from their smartphones, which is an industry first. The JForex Trader app comes with numerous research and pattern recognition features. The app also includes an impressive array of charting capabilities, complex order types, and other advanced offerings, such as depth of book, all packed into a clean user design.
Saxo Bank maintained second place with its SaxoTrader GO mobile app. SaxoTrader GO is highly responsive and provides traders a unified experience with its web-based platform, offering unique features such as syncing trend lines, indicators, and watch lists. Also, the broker’s native integration of trading signals and pattern recognition, powered by Auto Chartist, is automatically synced with its web platform.
Best Customer Service
When using a forex broker, a single customer service experience is not enough to assess the all-round quality and scope of service. Instead, multiple interactions with a broker’s customer support staff should be conducted to determine an overall rating of customer service.
Here at ForexBrokers.com, we follow the rigorous testing approach used by our sister site, StockBrokers.com, the most respected in the industry when it comes to trusted US stockbroker reviews.
For the 22 international forex brokers included in our customer service assessment, we conducted institutional-grade phone testing with the help of UK-based customer experience research group Customerwise. Over the course of six weeks, 330 phone tests were conducted across the UK (Note: brokers who do not offer any UK-based phone support were excluded from testing).
In the final ranking for best customer service, XTB ended up first followed by ETX Capital, FXCM, Pepperstone, and LCG in fifth. View the full rankings.
Best for Day Trading (Professional Client Status)
When it comes to active trading or day trading, not all forex brokers’ offerings are created equal. The trading requirements and resulting commission/spread discounts a forex trader is entitled to can vary considerably across forex brokers. Also, in today’s highly regulated forex world, traders who want to maximize their margin leverage must apply and obtain ESMA’s professional client status with their broker.
Traders designated as Professionals in the EU do not receive negative balance protection and other consumer safety mechanisms such as eligibility for compensation schemes in the event of their broker’s insolvency. Therefore, choosing a well-capitalized and trustworthy firm is especially crucial for professional forex day traders. Here are our top picks for 2020.
For traders who can afford the high minimum deposit, Saxo Bank is our top choice for professional traders in 2020. In addition to commission-free pricing with average spreads of 0.6 pips on the EUR/USD (for the 30 days ending October 10th, 2020), Saxo Bank also offers a commission-based plan tied to volume, as part of its active trader offering. Saxo Bank won our award, Best VIP Account Offering, thanks to the numerous perks offered to those who deposit at least USD $1m. Finally, it is also worth noting that Saxo Bank offers some of the lowest financing rates in the industry when it comes to the cost-of-carry for traders that hold forex and CFDs overnight.
Our second-place finisher for professionals is IG. Beyond IG’s already competitive base pricing, IG’s Forex Direct pricing provides Direct Market Access (DMA), reducing trading costs even further. Trading costs aside, IG is also an attractive option for high-volume traders thanks to the broker’s ability to execute large orders alongside providing a robust offering of complex order types.
If you’re considering an active trader program or professional trader status in the EU, take attention to the details of what each broker offers. How much do you plan to trade over each calendar month, on average? How will the available margin rates at each broker affect your trade sizes and overall volumes? How sensitive is your trading strategy to spread/commission rates? Finally, other factors that can play a crucial role in your overall experience are the execution method, order types, trading platforms, and other such preferences.
2020 Overall Ranking
Here’s the Overall rankings for the 30 online brokers who participated in our 2020 Broker Review, sorted by Overall ranking.
How do I choose a forex broker?
Here are three of the most important factors to keep in mind when choosing an online broker for forex trading. First, make sure your broker is properly regulated. The safety of your deposit is always the top priority. Next, compare the trading platforms, tools, and investment research provided by each broker. Finally, read forex broker reviews to compare pricing and product offerings (e.g., number of forex pairs and CFDs available to trade).
How do I know if my forex broker is regulated?
It is crucial to use a well-known, properly regulated broker to avoid forex scams. To check if your forex broker is regulated, first identify the register number from the disclosure text at the bottom of the broker’s homepage. Next, look up the firm on the regulator’s website to validate the register number. If the broker is not regulated in your country, do more research. To help traders, we track, rate, and rank forex brokers across over 20 international regulators.
What’s the difference between a dealing-desk and an agency broker?
If a forex broker is operating as a dealer, also known as dealing-desk, they will be on the other side of their client’s trades. If a forex broker is not on the other side of their client’s trades, they will be acting as an agent (agency broker) by routing the trade on to another dealer.
There are also hybrid-desks, which may operate as a dealing-desk and agency. Lastly, matched-principals are dealers who immediately hedge their trades to remove any potential conflict of interest.
How do I calculate forex trading costs?
For forex and CFDs trading, the all-in cost to complete (open or close) each trade consists of the spread, plus any round-turn commissions. There may also be overnight financing charges, known as carrying costs, which can be either a net debit (loss) or a net credit (refund). To keep trading costs low, focus on trading the major forex pairs such as the EUR/USD, which offer the most liquidity, and thus the tightest spreads.
How important is research and education?
Trading forex is risky and not easy. Even seasoned forex traders allocate time to learning new lessons and concepts. The disparity between currency brokers that provide thorough, high-quality education and those who do not is vast. Research tools for scanning, analyzing, and conducting technical and fundamental analysis will vary from broker to broker. Bottom line: compare your forex broker to make sure you are using the best overall platform.
For our 2020 Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 30 international forex brokers. Each broker was graded on 105 different variables and, in total, over 50,000 words of research were produced.
While encouraged, broker participation was optional. Each broker had the opportunity to complete an in-depth data profile and provide executive time (live in person or over the web) for an annual update meeting.
All data submitted by brokers is hand-checked for accuracy. Ultimately, our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than 1% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.
Forex Risk Disclaimer
“There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. With respect to margin-based foreign exchange trading, off-exchange derivatives, and cryptocurrencies, there is considerable exposure to risk, including but not limited to, leverage, creditworthiness, limited regulatory protection and market volatility that may substantially affect the price, or liquidity of a currency or related instrument. It should not be assumed that the methods, techniques, or indicators presented in these products will be profitable, or that they will not result in losses.” Learn more.
About the author: Steven Hatzakis Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level. Over the past 20 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.
Trading CFDs, FX, and cryptocurrencies involve a high degree of risk. All providers have a percentage of retail investor accounts that lose money when trading CFDs with their company. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money and whether you understand how CFDs, FX, and cryptocurrencies work. All data was obtained from a published web site as of 01/20/2020 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The ForexBrokers.com staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page.
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Tips for Finding a Great Forex Broker
Tips to help you choose the right broker and avoid disaster
As if there wasn’t already enough to learn when trading forex, the forex broker you choose is actually the biggest trade you’ll ever make. You’re giving all your trading capital to that company, with the expectation that you’ll be able to trade with it and withdraw it when it’s time to take your profits.
You may have great forex strategies, but if your broker runs off with your money, all your hard work and research was for nothing. Follow these five in-depth tips on how to find a great forex broker, so you end up with the right broker that meets your needs, without exposing you to any scams.
Consider Your Needs
Before looking at brokers, assess your own needs. Here are some things to consider:
- Are you going to day trade a lot or a little?
- Trade very small moves, or capture bigger moves?
If you day trade a lot and capture small moves, consider an ECN broker. You’ll pay a commission on trades but the spreads are much tighter, which matters when trading small moves. Search only for “ECN Forex Brokers.”
If you don’t think you’ll need an ECN broker, then you still have a big pool of potential brokers left.
If you’re going to do “scalp” trading, you’ll need an ECN broker.
How much capital do you have? With a small amount of capital, you have to trade micro-lots. If you have over $5,000 you can start day trading mini lots. Don’t open a standard lot account unless you have at least $50,000.
Choose a broker and account type (lot size) that matches your capital.
When it comes to depositing and withdrawing funds from your account, different brokers offer various methods. Choose a broker that aligns with your needs
What the Broker Should Offer
Now that you know what you want, and have hopefully narrowed the list of potential brokers, look for the following in the brokers you’re still considering.
No “dealing desk.” If you’re a day trader you want to be interacting directly with the market, and not sending your order to a trading desk which then initiates it in the market. That takes too much time, and often results in “re-quotes.” This is when the price has changed since you placed your order, and the broker asks you if you wish to proceed. Because of the time delay, your trade opportunity is likely gone.
Make sure your broker is regulated in a country with a well established financial system. A forex broker regulated in Cyprus, for example, is better than no regulation, but you could still have problems. Pick brokers regulated by U.S., U.K., Canadian, Japanese, New Zealand or Australian authorities, as examples.
You’re a day trader, so demand competitive spreads. For example, if day trading the EUR/USD during a major session expects the spread to be close to one pip (point in percentage) with a non-ECN account. Two pips are too high; eliminate that broker as an option. With an ECN account, the spread should be half a pip or less during major sessions.
Look for a broker that’s available when you need them. Open a demo account with brokers you are interested in, then send them lots of emails with questions. Monitor how fast and how thoroughly they respond. If the customer service isn’t good, eliminate that broker from the list of your potentials.
Be Wary of “Losing Trader” Reviews
Part of your research in choosing a broker should be looking at written reviews of the broker as well as discussion forums.
Be wary of these though. Unless the information comes from a credible source, and most forums are not credible sources, you’re likely to find fake reviews, both positive and negative.
Most day traders will lose money, and since most traders can’t admit that to themselves, they blame others when it happens to them. Just because someone complains about losing money doesn’t make the broker they were using bad, even though the writer may blame the broker.
Look up what people are saying, but maintain objectivity. Lots of false information gets published with no credible reference.
Personally Test out the Broker
Your list of potential brokers should be smaller now. But with so much false information out there, don’t make a decision yet. Instead, test out the brokers you are most interested in.
- First, open a demo account and take note of the trading conditions. Your orders should execute instantly. Spreads should be tight and the platform stable, not crashing all the time.
- If the demo works well for several weeks, then open a live account, with a fraction of the capital you intend to deposit. For example, if you have $10,000 to deposit, start by only putting in $1,000.
- Trade the live account with your partial deposit for at least two weeks. During this time, continue to test customer support, asking them questions and assessing how quickly they respond.
- Initiate a withdrawal for some of the funds in your account. Depending on your withdrawal method, this may cost you several dollars, but it’s worth it to know whether withdrawals can be done easily.
- If everything seems good after all this, you’ve done your due diligence. Deposit the rest of your capital and begin trading as usual.
When you open a live account avoid any and all “bonuses” the forex broker may offer. Here’s an example: “Open a $1,000 account and get $100 in bonus cash!”
Nothing really comes for free. If you accept a bonus it may interfere with withdrawals, because some of the money in your account is now the broker’s money. Send an email with your account application that explicitly states you don’t want to take part in any bonuses that they have on offer.
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