There are numerous online forex brokerages and they all have friendly account registration and terms of trading. They accept relatively low initial deposits, have very easy to use platforms, and even support the widest range of trading and market analysis tools.
They, however, differ in design in the sense that while some are more welcoming to beginner traders, others are well adapted to cater to the veteran forex traders.
In this online investment guide, we review 5 of the best beginner-friendly online brokers and 10 of the best trading platforms designed for experienced traders.
The Best Forex Brokers Available in 2021
Before we look at forex brokers in more detail, here’s a list of the top forex brokers right now.
- eToro – Social trading forex broker
- Plus500 – Tight forex spreads
- Forex.com – Excellent charting
- CryptoRocket – High leverage broker
- AvaTrade – Supports MT4/5
- 24Option – Great education content
- IG – Wide range of forex pairs
On this Page:
What are Forex Brokers?
Online Forex brokers are financial firms that provide Forex traders access to buy or sell currency pairs online.
This is made possible by providing traders access to trading platforms that create an interface between the trader and broker (market makers) or between the trader, broker and the Forex interbank market (ECN/STP brokers).
In the mid-90s, there were no individual or retail Forex traders.
The Forex market was exclusively for big banks, hedge funds, or high net-worth firms. This is because it was capital intensive with a minimum trading size was $1 million.
With time, the market was decentralized and access was granted to investors with smaller capital. The liquidity gap created by the smaller capital from retail traders and the large trading requirements of the interbank market was filled by market makers.
Today, we have numerous online Forex brokers operating from different parts of the world. With as little as $1, individual traders can access the Forex market from the comfort of their homes.
The Best Forex Brokers 2021 – Forex Brokers Compared
Who are the best Forex brokers in 2021 and who wins the best Forex exchange comparison? This table shows the best Forex brokers and the pros and cons of each one.
- Paypal Available
- Licensed Broker
- Real Crypto Tokens
- Has Own Wallet
75% of investors lose money when trading CFDs. *spread values vary*
75% of investors lose money when trading CFDs. *spread values vary*
Factors to Consider in Choosing a Forex Broker
- Minimum Deposit Requirement
How much is required as a basic minimum to open an account?
You need to consider how much money you can spare to start off a Forex brokerage.
Usually, traders are advised to make a transition from a demo account to a small live account and ultimately a larger Forex account.
Many Forex brokers now have very low minimum deposit requirements; some as low as $10. This is great for the transitional live account which new traders with budgetary constraints will find useful. Some accounts (such as STP accounts) may require as much as $50,000 as the minimum deposit.
If you are a trader who has such money and wants to trade with an ECN account, then this is the direction to go. So knowing your minimum deposit requirement will help narrow your search.
- What are the spreads and commission structure like?
How low are the spreads and commissions on one FX broker’s platform when compared to another?
Spreads and commissions are a trader’s business costs.
Obviously, the lower the costs, the more profit can be retained. Spreads need to be kept low and competitive.
Imagine trading with a broker that offers a spread of 1.4 pips for EUR/USD and another which offers 0.8 pips on the same asset.
The difference of 0.6 pips, on 50 Standard Lot trades in a month ($10 per pip), equates to a savings of $300. Trade this in a year, and this goes up to $3,600.
Can you see the impact that a decision as simple as broker choice based on the competitiveness of spreads can make?
- Does the Forex brokers offer swap-free accounts?
If you are a Muslim trader (and there is a large population of traders of the Islamic faith in the MENA region) and you want a swap-free account that complies with the tenets of the faith, then you would want a broker that offers this option.
So this is a key point of consideration in broker selection.
- Is the Forex broker regulated?
Regulation in the forex market is all about trader protection.
You need to have an independent body you can go to if you are not satisfied with your broker’s services.
This underscores the importance of making sure the Forex broker you use is a regulated broker.
- What has been the experience of other traders?
A very good way of knowing what your own experience on a brokerage platform will be like is to get first-hand information about the experience of other traders on the same platforms you desire to use. Such information can be obtained from online forums.
- Quality of customer support among Forex Trading Brokers
In order to avoid frustrating experiences, it’s good to know if your preferred broker has good customer support.
A quick search can show you whether their customer support staff treat their clients well, or just as if they are doing them a favour.
How Forex Brokers Are Rated?
This article will present a list of the Best Forex brokers for 2021 that you can use now.
How were these brokers selected and rated? The following points present the basis for our broker selection:
a) Regulatory Forex Broker Status
All the brokers in our list are regulated and in good standing with regulators.
They present their traders with trader insurance in the form of investment compensation fund registration with the respective regulators.
b) Ease of Software Use
The brokers in our list present their traders with trading software and applications that are easy to use and which do not present obstacles to the trader’s profit potential.
Trading software should be user-friendly.
They should not constitute an extra layer of work for the trader to unravel before engaging in core trading.
c) Presence of Mobile Trading Apps
Some trading opportunities come at the most inopportune of times.
It is only with mobile trading apps that these times can be converted to periods of opportunity.
All brokers in our list allow their traders to trade on the go with easy to use mobile applications and website interfaces optimized for mobile devices.
d) Trader Education
Traders come to the market with little education about trading.
Providing their clients with proper market-based education boosts the trader’s knowledge of the trading platforms, the forex market itself and also simple processes involved in the trading process.
e) Market Research
Market research is a critical tool for profiting from Forex.
The brokers in our list provide outstanding market research using in-house experts and also in partnership with Trading Central.
f) Ease and Affordability of Account Opening
Account opening is a breeze with the brokers in our list.
Some of them allow you to open accounts using your existing email or social media profiles.
Best Forex Brokers for 2021
The list below represents our top 7 forex brokers for 2021.
These brokers have stood the test of time and have provided extra features that benefit their clients.
1. Plus500: Great for advanced traders | CFD Broker
Founded in Israel over a decade ago, Plus500 has earned a spot for itself on the list due to its technological innovations, consistency and global mission which have led to its expansion. Today, the broker is listed on the London Stock Exchange and it is also part of the UK FTSE 250. It boasts of over 300,000 clients from all over the world.
Plus500 is regulated in the following jurisdictions:
- Plus500UK Ltd is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority FCA(#509909).
- Plus500CY Ltd is authorized and regulated by CySEC (#250/14).
- Plus500AU Pty Ltd (ACN 153301681), is licensed by: ASIC in Australia, AFSL #417727
The company employs the use of modern security best practices to secure user information and create a safe trading environment. The proprietary Plus500 trading platform is available as a WebTrader, and also as mobile apps on Android, Windows phones and iOS mobile devices. The platform is simple, innovative and loaded with analytical tools. It features real-time SMS and email alerts based on price movement earlier customized by the trader. Although user friendly, It is worth noting that Plus500 platform is suitable for experienced traders only.
Traders here can trade CFDs on underlying financial instruments such as currency pairs, commodities, ETFs, Options, and shares. The EU offering of Plus500 provides maximum leverage is 1:30 for retail traders while professional traders get up to 1:300. The spreads are tight and no commissions are charged on trades.
- Over 2500 assets can be traded on the Plus500 platform.
- A proprietary platform that can be customized to send SMS/email alerts based on predetermined market conditions.
- No commissions are charged on trades.
- The Plus 500 online trading platform does not support certain strategies hedging and scalping.
- Traders do not receive any bonuses, rebates or rewards.
2. AvaTrade Forex Broker - Attractive regional offering with local branches all over the world.
AvaTrade is multiple award-winning brokers with a presence across the globe. Regulated across six jurisdictions, AvaTrade has proved itself to be a reliable and reputable broker, hence qualifying as one of our top brokers for 2021. The broker was established in 2006 and the headquarters is in Dublin, Ireland. The tradable instruments available are currency pairs, cryptocurrencies, ETFs, commodities, indices, stock, and bonds.
AvaTradeGO is the broker’s proprietary mobile app that is simple yet sophisticated enough to handle all the essential needs of a trader. The MT4 platform is also available. The Guardian Angel is a customizable trade assistant designed for a beginner or advanced traders. It is an MT4 plugin that alerts the trader on predetermined conditions such as excessive risk, setting a stop-loss, trading volatility, market conditions, etc. The Autochartist tool is also provided for the MT4 platform.
ZuluTrade, the renowned social trading platform is available through this broker. Clients can copy the trades of expert traders and make profits. Duplitrade; another social trading platform is also available. The broker also provides trader education via ‘SharpTrader’ which provides training videos and articles for registered clients. AvaTrade boast of 200,000 traders with over 2million monthly trades.
- Social trading is available via Zulutrade and Duplitrade platforms.
- Over 250 trading instruments are available which includes cryptos, ETFs and bonds.
- Multiple trading platforms across all devices.
- The demo account expires after 21 days.
- The premium account type “Ava Select” has an opening balance of $100,000 which is very high.
3. 24Option FX Broker - Great mobile app with strong trader educational content
- Advanced market analysis from Trading Central.
- Cutting edge platforms loaded with essential tools for analysis and order management.
- Adequate educational resources especially for beginners.
- Exorbitant inactivity fees of $40 per month, which increase after 3 months.
- High withdrawal charges.
5. IG.com USA Forex Broker - Strong Presence in USA
- Features of the MT4 can be expanded with add-ons for better user experience.
- Comprehensive IG academy is suitable for new traders for knowledge acquisition.
- The Autochartist assist traders in their daily analysis and trade decisions.
- The minimum deposit of $250 is high when compared to other brokers.
- Deposits cannot be made through PayPal and other e-wallet options.
How do Forex Brokers operate? Forex Brokers Working Model!
The modus operandi of forex brokers is related to how they execute customer transactions. Here are the popular forex broker models.
i) ECN Forex Brokerage model
Electronic Communications Networks (ECN) brokers give their clients direct market access (DMA). Traders access the interbank forex market directly through the brokers’ ECN network.
There is no dealing desk (NDD) and the broker only acts as an agent between the client and the interbank forex market.
ECN brokers transmit the actual currency quotes to their clients in real-time and the trades are executed at the market. This reduces or eliminates requotes.
The spreads are usually very low and in some cases, zero spreads are incurred. This is why most ECN brokers prefer to collect a commission on each side of a trade.
ii) STP Forex Broker Model
Straight Through Processing (STP) brokers are Non-Dealing Desk (NDD) brokers that operate an automated system where trades are routed to liquidity providers for execution at competitive prices.
The liquidity providers are interbank forex market participants. Most times, the liquidity providers are top tier brokers, investment companies, payment aggregators or major banks.
The advantage of the STP brokerage model is that there is more liquidity from different sources; hence, orders are promptly fulfilled. The whole process is automated without broker intervention eliminating human errors, costs or delays.
iii) Market Makers Forex Broker
These brokers operate a dealing desk (DD) brokerage model.
Most market makers quote the bid and ask price with fixed spreads and execute trades by taking the opposite side of a client’s trade.
Market makers can adjust the spread, delay trade executions and even manipulate traders’ positions to trigger a stop-loss.
The advantage of this brokerage model is that orders are executed instantly as it is not routed to another source but executed by the broker.
They also charge low trading fees and offer very high leverages. Because many beginner traders believe the illusion that forex trading can bring quick money, many scam brokers operate this brokerage model.
Most beginner traders lose money and these scam brokers easily make the money by trading against the newbie, manipulating trades and closing winning trades.
That is why it is always advisable to trade with a regulated broker.
iv) Hybrid Forex Broker Model
This involves the combination of two or more broker models in operation.
Most ECN brokers also add a dealing desk to their operations which caters to low volume traders with small capitals.
They usually specify different account types and tie the execution type to the account type. The Hybrid model is arguably the best brokerage model as it benefits both the new and professional traders.
Expert traders with huge capitals are given special accounts, favourable benefits and have their orders executed at the market. Tyros and low volume traders are offered a dealing desk with instant executions.
In this guide, we look at the best forex brokers with the most attractive leverages. We, however, start by looking at how it works and the criteria used to rank the best high leverage brokers.
High Leverage Forex Brokers:
Leverage is a form of investment loan given to an investor by the brokerage firm. It serves to inflate your trading account balances, making it possible to enter into larger trading positions with the hope of scoring higher returns. To access this loan, you will need first to open a margin account with your preferred broker. The leverage advanced is then expressed as 1:50, 1:100, 1:200, or 1:500.
But what does this mean? In the case of 1:200, it implies that for every one base currency you are willing to stake into a trade, the broker will loan you two hundred more. If you, therefore, wished to enter into a $200,000 trade, you would only need $1,000 in your trading account.
What are the pros and cons of using a Broker’s Leverage?
Best High Leverage Broker For 2021:
1. PaxForex – Best for U.S Forex investors (1:500)
PaxForex stands out with their non-discriminative and high leverage of 1:500. This is now available to all types of trading accounts availed by the acclaimed broker. In addition to the high leverage, there are several other reasons PaxForex tops our list of high leverage brokers. And we are especially drawn in by the fact that they maintain over five types of trading accounts. They also expose you to more than 20 trading pairs and maintains a highly affordable minimum deposit of $10.
It also is compatible with the all-popular desktop and Mobile versions of the MetaTrader (MT4) platforms. Note that this attractive leverage is, however, capped at the CFTC recommended 1:50 ratio for their U.S. clients.
- Provides you with additional albeit loaned trading capital
- The leveraged (loaned) trading capital is interest-free
- Helps you enter into larger trade positions that magnify your gains
- Can easily wipe out your trading capital (staked amounts)
- It exposes you to margin call risks
2. AvaTrade – Best for Non-U.S investors (1:400)
AvaTrade has an established presence in over 150 countries around the world. It is thus operated under the strict guidance of all major financial regulatory agencies in Europe, Canada, Japan, and Australia. This, plus the fact that it offers highly attractive leverages of up to 1:400 makes it a preferred broker for most international traders. Apart from the leverage, you will also be interested to note that the broker runs one of the most advanced and user-friendly trading platforms.
Some key features availed by the broker include a professional in-house trading software, Forex APIs, and lucrative trading strategies – all of which are available freely on the site. Plus the broker is also one of the few that provides you with adjustable trading algorithms and Forex trading APIs that let you automate your trades from scratch.
- Support a host of payment processing companies and free deposits and withdrawals
- Exposes you to automated risk management tools like negative balance protection
- Free training and access to Forex educational materials make it most appealing for beginner traders
- Consumers have often complained of delayed withdrawals – can take up to 10 days
- Doesn’t accept U.S clients
3. Crypto Rocket – Best For Free deposits (1: 500)
CryptoRocket stands out from the competition in the industry because of its attractive leverage of up to 1:500. But we also like it because of its zero-fee policy on deposits. But these aren't the only reasons the broker makes it here.
Other unique features that drew us to the Forex CFD trader include the fact that it exposes you to over 55 Forex trading pairs. Plus their ultra-tight spreads and the highly advanced trading platform are available in both the web trader, P.C., and mobile apps.
- Their straight-through trade execution eliminates slippage and requotes
- Their trading platform comes with numerous advanced trading tools that appeal to both beginner and advanced traders
- It doesn't charge transaction fees when live trading
- CryptoRocket is a non-regulated exchange
- There are limited financial products you can trade here - mostly cryptocurrencies
4. Eagle FX – Best for the High number of Forex Trading Pairs (1:500)
Eagle F.X. appeals most to experienced traders looking for an advanced platform that gives them access to huge investment opportunities and attractive leverage. The broker exposes you to over 53 forex trading pairs (including all the major currencies). And these can be executed with leverage of 1:500.
Beginner traders looking to gain a deeper understanding of the Forex market can do so within the Eagle Fx demo account. It is free and has no limit to the amount of time or virtual currency you can spend there. Others factors that make it stand out from the competition, despite being a few months old, include its zero-fee approach to deposits and withdrawals. Plus the fact that you only need $10 to open a real trading account.
- Available in both the web and mobile trading versions
- Beginner-friendly as it supports social trading and copy trading
- A low minimum deposit of $10 and high leverage that starts from 25:1 to 500:1
- Not regulated
- Not available to U.S. clients
5. XM Global - Best for Account Management Support (1:888)
X.M. Global ranks highly on the list of the most reputable online trading brokerages. Here, traders are treated to highly attractive leverages of 1:888. Not to mention that they also offer one the broadest list of trading pairs and other financial investment products. And these can be executed within one of their several retail client trading accounts that cater to both the beginner and expert traders.
Note, however, that the 1:888 leverage is only available to international traders operating outside the U.S. and Europe. X.M. isn't available in the United States but operates through a Proxy - XM-UK in Europe. And in this FCA controlled financial district, leverage is capped at 1:30. In addition, traders are treated to ultra-tight spreads of as low as 0.6 pips for all the major trading pairs. You might also be interested to note that all X.M. trading platforms are expert advisory friendly. You will also be treated to 50%+20% bonus on your initial deposit upon verifying your trading account.
- Every account is matched with a supportive account manager
- Highly adaptive trading platform and a friendly user interface
- Fastest trade execution speeds, eliminating requotes and slippage.
- Limited deposit and withdrawal options
- Maintain account inactivity fee
7. InstaForex – Best in Eastern Europe (1:1000)
InstaForex is headquartered in Russia, making it one of the few most successful brokerages in Eastern Europe. It stands out because of its support for huge leverage that currently stands at 1:1000, and an equally large number of currency trading pairs – including all the major currencies.
Others factors ensuring InstaForex makes it to the list of the reputable high leverage brokerages include its near-instant customer support services. Plus a wide range of technical analysis tools on an elaborate trading platform. Here, a client is also free to maintain up to three different trading accounts.
- The broker supports both the MT4 and MT5 trading platforms
- One-click trading technology guarantees fast trade execution
- The low minimum deposit for real account – stands at $1
- Not available to both the U.S. and E.U. markets
- Limited and relatively slow withdrawal options
8. FBS – Best for High Leverages (1:3000)
FBS maintains the highest leverage in the global forex trading industry – currently set at 1:3000. It also is one of the most versatile brokers we have come across with a unique approach to the industry. It also has a long list of trading account types, and each is specially designed to suit a particular class of traders. The most popular account type is the micro-lot trading (CENT) account for beginners, and the high-volume (ECN) account for scalpers.
The broker further takes pride in hosting a huge collection of trading tools as well as highly effective automated trading systems. More importantly, forex transactions are commission-free while spreads range from 0.0 pips for the Zero-Spread trading account to 3.0 pips for least popular forex pairs.
- Hosts Sharia law compliant accounts for Islamic traders
- Advanced trading technology eliminates any incidences of slippage and requotes
- Supports expert advisers and other automated trading tools
- Not available to U.S. residents
- Poor risk management practices where some accounts, such as ECN, don't have a stop-loss feature
9. OctaFX – Best for Social Trading (1:500)
On paper, OctaFX has its leverage set at 1:500 for MT4 platform traders and 1:200 for the MT5 traders. And in a world where major Forex hubs are constantly coming up with regulations that seek to shrink leverages further, we consider this high and attractive. However, OctaFX is regularly holding promotions that allow traders from different parts of the world to adjust this leverage upwards manually.
In most cases, MT4 traders leverage moves from the standard 1:500 to 1:1000 while leverage for MT5 trades moves from 1:200 to 1:500. In addition to this, we liked the superior social trading feature on their website that supports copy trading for beginners. Plus the fact that the broker also operates the one-click trading feature that guarantees fast trade execution speeds.
- Beginner-friendly through social trading and educational resources
- OctaFX supports multi-platform trading on MT4, MT5, Web and OctaFX app trading platforms.
- No deposit or withdrawal fees
- Sluggish withdrawals
- Limited payment processing options as it does not support debit and credit cards or PayPal
10. NordFX – Best for versatile trading platforms (1:1000)
NordFX also features on our list of high leverage brokers majorly because of its high leverage of 1:1000. But we are also impressed by the level of technology the broker has integrated into their trading platform.
This is evidenced by the fact that Nord FX runs one of the most advanced trading platforms with sophisticated analysis tools, indicators, and trading strategies. It also takes pride in having one of the fastest payment processing systems that have resulted in minimal complaints.
- Highly affordable spreads that start from 0.0 pips
- Exposes you to different types of accounts that require low minimum deposit amounts – from $10
- Stellar customer support team
- Limited number of forex trading pairs
- Slow processing of withdrawals
Glossary of Trading Platforms
The trading platform fee refers to the amount a trader pays to use the platform and access its integrated platform features and tools. It can be a one –time fee paid for the acquisition of the trading platform, a subscription fee paid monthly or annually. Others will charge on a per-trade basis with a specific fee per trade.
Cost per trade is also referred to as the base trade fee and refers to the fee that a broker or trading platform charges you every time you place a trade. Some brokers offer volume discounts and charge a lower cost per trade for voluminous trades.
Margin is the money needed in your account to maintain a trade with leverage.
Social trading is a form of trading that allows for the interaction and exchange of trade ideas, signals and trade settings between the different classes of traders.
Copy trading, also known as mirror trading is a form of online trading that lets traders copy trade settings from one another. In most cases, it is the newbies and part-time traders that copy the positions of pro traders. The copiers -in most cases - are then required to surrender a share of the profits made from copied trades – averaging 20% - with the pro traders.
A Financial instrument ideally refers to the proof of ownership of financial commodities of monetary contracts between two parties. In the money markets, financial instruments refer to such elements as shares, stocks, bonds, Forex and crypto CFDs and other contractual obligations between different parties.
An index is an indicator that tracks and measures the performance of a security such as a stock or bond.
Commodities refer to raw materials used in the production and manufacturing of other products or agricultural products. Some of the most popular commodities traded on the exchange markets include energy and gases like oil, agricultural products like corn and coffee, and precious metals like gold and silver.
An ETF is a fund that can be traded on an exchange. The fund is a basket containing multiple securities such as stocks, bonds or even commodities. ETFs allow you to trade the basket without having to buy each security individually.
CFDs are a form of contractual trading that involves speculating on the performance of a particular trade in the market. CFD’s will basically allow you to speculate on the future value of securities such as stocks, currencies and commodities without owning the underlying securities.
The minimum investment simply refers to the lowest amount of capital injection you can deposit into a brokerage or a trading platform. Different brokers demand varied minimum investment amounts from their clients either when registering or opening trade positions.
A daily trading limit is the lowest and highest amount that a security is allowed to fluctuate, in one trading session, at the exchange where it’s traded. Once a limit is reached, trading for that particular security is suspended until the next trading session. Daily trading limits are imposed by exchanges to protect investors from extreme price volatilities.
A day trader is a term used to describe a trader who is constantly opening trades and closing them within a day. It is a common term used to refer to forex traders who open trade and only hold onto it for a few minutes or hours before disposing and having to leave no open trades at the time the trading day closes.
How do Forex brokers make money?
Their primary means of making money is from the bid-ask spread. But brokers have other means of making money such as charging commissions on trades, withdrawal fees, inactivity fees, etc.
How do I choose a Forex broker?
Consider the following factors: security, trading costs, trading platforms, customer service, deposit/withdrawal methods, and asset listing. Check the broker’s website for the above-listed services. Read broker reviews and try to avoid unregulated brokers.
Why do Forex brokers offer leverage?
Brokers offer leverage so that traders can increase their capital, trade larger currency volumes, make more profits and of course, pay larger trading fees to the broker.
Are online Forex brokers safe?
Yes, especially the brokers that are regulated by reputable agencies like FCA, ASIC, etc. These brokers abide by strict rules in order to provide a safe trading environment for their clients. They segregate traders’ funds from their brokerage funds and use modern security software and firewalls to ensure a secure digital environment.
What is an ECN Forex broker?
An ECN broker uses Electronic Communications Network to give its clients direct access to other participants in the currency markets. They usually charge a commission for every trade executed.
What is a Market maker Fx Broker ?
A market maker is a broker who acts as a liquidity provider. They have an electronic dealing desk where they execute clients’ orders.
What is NDD?
NDD stands for Non-Dealing Desk and it means that the broker does not execute trades in-house, rather it is executed at the interbank market or by a liquidity provider. In this case, the broker only acts as an agent to transmit prices and orders for execution at the interbank market.
What is the Forex interbank market?
The forex interbank market is the forex electronic market where liquidity providers, top-tier brokerages and major financial banks converge to trade world currencies.
How can I open a Forex broker account?
Visit any of the broker websites listed above. Complete account opening forms and upload verification documents. The brokerage account will be opened.