Trading forex pairs from the comfort of your home has never been easier. You simply need to open an account with a trusted provider, deposit some funds with your UK debit/credit card, and that’s it – you can start buying and selling currencies at the click of a button. However, the greatest challenge is finding a UK forex trading platform that best meets your needs. There are loads of brokers to choose from, so finding the best UK forex trading platform for you isn’t always easy.
To help you out, in this guide we’ll compare the top brokers and reveal the best forex trading platform in the UK. We also explore some of the key metrics that you need to look out for when choosing a platform and provide a step-by-step walkthrough on how to get started today.
Table of Contents
eToro: Best Forex Trading Platform UK
- 0% forex trading commission
- Wide range of currency pairs
- Social and copy trading tools
- FCA regulated
Compare the Best Forex Trading Platforms in the UK
With hundreds of online forex brokers now serving UK clients, finding out which platform to sign up with can be a cumbersome task. Luckily, we’ve done the work for you and have reviewed many brokers to bring you the best of the best, right here.
Every broker on this list is highly regulated, offers dozens of currency pairs, competitive fees and plenty of special features. Let’s take a look at the best forex trading platform in the UK for 2020.
1. eToro - Market Leading Social Trading Platform
If you ask us, there's no doubt eToro is the best forex trading in the UK. For starters, this broker offers a fantastic range of currency pairs, including plenty of minors and exotics, so there's no shortage of trading options. eToro also has some of the lowest fees of all forex trading platforms. There's no commission to pay, and the spreads are very competitive.
eToro initially made its name as a pioneering social trading platform, which means it's essentially a social network combined with a traditional broker. You have your own personalised news feed and can engage with other forex traders to discuss tips and strategies.
As well as social trading, eToro also offers innovative the CopyTrader tools. This allow you to pick a forex investor that you like the look of, and then mirror their trades like-for-like, meaning you can trade currencies in a passive manner, as each and every trade will be placed on your behalf. There are no additional fees to use to the CopyTrader feature, and you can exit your position at any given time.
eToro requires a $200 minimum deposit to get started, which you can make via an array of payment methods, including PayPal. There's also a $100,000 demo account which is the perfect way to get to grips with the platform and its features. There's also an excellent mobile app for trading on the go.
When it comes to safety, eToro is regulated by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as well as ASIC and Cyprus. Among a number of safeguards, this ensures that your money is held in segregated bank accounts and that your account is protected with encryption technology. Overall, eToro ticks just about every box, which is why it's our pick for the best forex trading platform in the UK.
- Trade forex commission-free
- Regulated in the UK by FCA
- Social trading tools
- User-friendly trading platform
- 0.5% currency conversion fee on deposits
2. Plus500 - Low Cost UK Forex Broker
Plus500 is a market leader in the UK brokerage space, with thousands of financial instruments hosted at the platform. On top of CFDs in the form of the stocks, indices, gold, oil, and cryptocurrencies, Plus500 hosts a fully-fledged forex department.
This includes dozens of majors, minors, and exotics, so all bases are covered. Much like eToro, there are no trading commissions charged by the broker when you buy and sell currencies. Instead, it's only the spread that you will need to look out for, and Plus500 offers some of the lowest spreads on the market.
Plus500 offers leverage on all of its financial instruments, including 30:1 on major pairs and 20:1 on minors and exotics. This broker also stands out for its strong regulatory standing, as it holds licenses with the FCA, ASIC, CySEC, and MAS. Furthermore, its parent company is a PLC listed on the London Stock Exchange.
This ensures that you are able to trade in a safe and secure environment. In terms of getting started, Plus500 allows you to open an account in minutes. Once you upload your ID, this will usually be validated straight away. In the meantime, you can deposit funds with a UK debit/credit card, bank account, or Paypal. Minimum deposits start at £100, and there are no fees to deposit or withdraw.
- No withdrawal fees
- 0% trading commission
- FCA regulated
- No educational material
3. FinmaxFX - High Leverage Limits
FinmaxFX is an online broker that is tailored to a certain type of trader - those that have a higher appetite for risk. The reason for this is that you will get much higher leverage limits than you will find elsewhere. For those unaware, European based platforms are required to limit the amount of leverage offered to retail clients.
This stands at 30:1 on major pairs and 20:1 on minors/exotics. However, as FinmaxFX is not located in the EU, it has the capacity to offer much higher limits. In fact, it is possible to get leverage of up to 200:1 on major pairs. This translates to a maximum trade size of £40,000 on an account balance of just £200.
In terms of the trading platform provided by the broker, everything goes through MetaTrader 5 (MT5). This means that you can choose to trade via your internet browser, desktop device, or mobile phone. If you like the sound of FinmaxFX, you can deposit funds with a range of payment methods.
This includes UK debit/credit cards, e-wallets, a bank transfer, and even Bitcoin. Take note, both trading and non-trading fees are a bit higher at FinmaxFX, so be sure to assess what you are paying before taking the plunge. Finally, FinmaxFX offers a bonus to all new customers, with the amount dependent on your account type.
- Leverage of 200:1 on forex
- Accepts most popular payment methods
- Bonus available to new customers
- Trading fees are somewhat high
- Not ASIC regulated
4. AvaTrade - Global Broker With Spreads Starting at 0.9 Pips
AvaTrade is a globally recognised online broker that serves traders from all over the world, and it's a popular choice among UK traders. The platform is especially popular with those that prefer the MetaTrader platforms, with AvaTrade supporting both MetaTrader4 and MetaTrader5.
This is ideal if you are planning to trade forex pairs with an automated robot, as integration with forex EAs means that you can buy and sell currencies in an autonomous manner. AvaTrade is also known for its strong commitment to regulation, with licenses in several jurisdictions.
This includes Ireland, South Africa, Canada, and Japan. When it comes to fees, AvaTrade is very competitive in the spread department. You can get this down to just 0.9 pips on major pairs like EUR/USD. Trading commissions are also reasonable, albeit, this will depend on the account type that you open.
If you do like the sound of AvaTrade, the broker requires a minimum deposit of £100. You deposit money into your forex trading account with a debit/credit or bank account.
- Spreads from just 0.9 pips
- Multiple licenses
- Both MT4 and MT5 supported
- No fundamental research features
- Its educational resources are sparse
5. IG - Established Broker With 90+ Forex Pairs
IG is a UK-based broker that was first launched in 1974. With more than 40 years in the brokerage industry, IG is well worth considering if you are looking for a highly trusted forex platform. In fact, the broker now facilitates over 178,000 traders.
In terms of its forex offering, IG hosts over 90 individual currency pairs. This means that you will have access to dozens of major, minor, and exotic at the click of a button. Muck like eToro and Plus500, IG does not charge any trading commissions in the forex department.
Furthermore, you can trade major pairs at a spread of just 0.6 pips - which is industry-leading. Regulation-wise, IG holds licenses with the FCA, as well as bodies in Australia and Singapore. MT4 is also supported at the platform, so you can install your automated trading bots and forex EAs with ease.
When it comes to getting money into and out of IG, the broker supports UK debit/credits and bank accounts, but not e-wallets. You will need to pay a 0.5% fee when using a MasterCard, and 1% with Visa. On top of forex, IG also offers traditional share dealing services and a fully-fledged spread betting facility.
- Spreads from 0.6 pips
- Supports MT4 trading platform
- Excellent research department
- 1% fee when using Visa and 0.5% via MasterCard
- Spreads on some crypto pairs are somewhat expensive
How to Choose the Best UK Forex Trading Platform for You
Although we have discussed the most popular UK forex trading platforms currently in the market, you might decide to do some independent research of your own. In fact, this is actually a good idea, as it will ensure that the broker in question is right for your needs.
To help you along the way, below you will find a number of key metrics that you need to look out for when comparing forex brokers.
Security & licensing
The most important factor that you need to assess is with respect to the forex trading platform’s regulatory standing. We would strongly suggest that you only trade at brokers that are regulated by a tier-one licensing body. If you’re from the UK, you are best advised to stick with platforms that are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Other notable regulatory bodies include Australia’s ASIC and Cyprus’s CySEC.
Choosing FCA regulated brokers means that the broker must keep your funds in segregated bank accounts. In turn, this ensures that the platform cannot use your money for its own working capital. Choosing regulated brokers also ensures they use industry-standard data encryption to keep your account secure.
Once you’ve checked a broker’s regulatory status, you then need to look at what currency pairs the UK forex trading platform offers. This should include:
- Majors: Major pairs consist of the US dollar and a competing major currency. This includes the likes of USD/EUR, GBP/USD, and USD/JPY. Virtually every broker will give you a full suite of major pairs, as these are the most traded currencies in the world.
- Minors: Minor pairs consist of two major currencies, but not the US dollar. GBP/EUR, CAD/HKD, and GBP/JPY are all examples of minor currencies. Once again, you will likely find that most UK forex brokers host a full suite of minors.
- Exotics: Exotic pairs are much more volatile than majors and minors, as they will always consist of at least one emerging currency. This might include the Mexican peso, South African rand, or the Vietnamese dong, for example. On top of higher levels of volatility, exotic pairs have much wider spreads.
The good news is that you will have the capacity to see what forex pairs your chosen broker hosts before opening an account. We recommend choosing a broker like eToro, which offers a wide range of currency pairs that includes a good selection of minors and exotics.
If you have a higher appetite for risk, then you might be looking to buy and sell forex pairs with leverage. This means that you effectively borrow capital from your broker in order to make larger traders. In the vast majority of cases, you will be limited to leverage of:
- 30:1 on major forex pairs
- 20:1 on minor and exotic forex pairs
The reason for this is that the UK is still bound by the limitation imposed by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). The regulations were installed to protect UK and European traders from large losses.
If you feel that ESMA limits are too restrictive for you, then you might need to consider an offshore broker like FinmaxFX. The platform in question offers leverage of up to 200:1 on majors, and 100:1 on minors and exotics. Ultimately, just make sure that you tread with caution when applying leverage of this magnitude, as you could lose a serious amount of cash.
All UK forex trading platforms are in the business of making money, so you need to ensure that you have a firm grasp of how much the broker charges. Forex trading platforms can charge a range of different fees, including:
- Spreads: The spread is the difference between the buy and sell price of your chosen forex pair. The wider the spread, the more that you indirectly pay to trade. We would suggest sticking with brokers that offer spreads of less than 1 pip on majors and minors. The spread is the most common forex trading fee.
- Commissions: On top of the spread, you also need to look out for trading commissions. This is a percentage fee that will be charged against the size of your order. For example, if the broker charges 0.7% per trade, and you place a buy order worth £1,000, you will pay £7 in commission. Luckily, top brokers like eToro and Plus500 charge no commissions at all when you trade forex.
- Payment Fees: You also need to see whether or not you will need to pay a transaction fee when you deposit and withdraw funds. For example, eToro allows you to deposit funds for free, and it charges just $5 to make a withdrawal. In another example, the likes of IG charges 0.5% and 1% on MasterCard and Visa transactions, respectively.
- Inactivity Fee: You should also be aware of a potential inactivity fee. This is a fee charged when you do not use your forex trading account for a number of months. Once your account is deemed dormant, the broker usually deducts a fixed amount from your balance each month until it reaches zero.
Once again, most of the best UK forex trading platforms allow you to review its fee schedule before you sign up. Ideally, you should look for 0% commission, tight spreads and low banking fees.
When it comes to trading platforms, there are generally two things that you need to consider. Firstly, have a think about the type of device that you wish to use. For example, are you looking to buy and sell forex pairs via your standard web browser, or are you looking to download software to your desktop device? In other cases, you might want access to a mobile trading app so that you can trade on the move.
Once you have established the type of device you want to trade on, you then need to consider the actual software. In the case of brokers like eToro and Plus500, you will be using proprietary trading software that has been built from the ground-up. Then you have brokers like FinmaxFX, AvaTrade, and IG that allow you to access platforms such as MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5.
The platform you choose determines what trading and charting tools are available, as well as how user-friendly the trading experience is. Ultimately, the specific trading software that you opt for should mirror that of your skill-set. Beginners are best off with user-friendly proprietary platforms like eToro.
If you are looking to make long-term profits from your forex trading endeavors, it is crucial that you make use of the trading tools you have at your disposal.
As such, the best forex trading platforms in the UK typically offer:
- Risk Management Tools: As the name suggests, risk management tools ensure that you are able to mitigate the risks of losing money. Sure, traders of all skill-sets will encounter losing trades – that’s just the name of the forex trading space. However, seasoned traders will always ensure that they have an ‘exit’ plan. At the forefront of this are tools like stop-loss orders, guaranteed stop-loss orders, and trailing stop-loss orders.
- Technical Analysis: Technical analysis is the art of reading forex price charts. You will be attempting to highlight historical pricing trends, and how these trends could impact the future price of the currency pair. To help you along the way, you’ll want to make use of technical indicators. This includes the likes of Bollinger Bands, the RSI, and the MACD.
- Fundamental Analysis: Fundamental analysis is the process of evaluating how real-world news events might impact the future value of a currency pair. This is why it is best to stick with brokers that give access to real-time news developments. It’s also useful when brokers offer in-depth analysis and trading tips on the back of news events.
Educational resources, insights, and news
On top of trading and risk management tools, you should also opt for a broker that offers educational resources, particularly if you’re new to trading. The best UK forex brokers will host a range of handy step-by-step guides and explainers, and some take things one step further by hosting regular webinar events.
This will see a seasoned in-house trader discuss key market topics and developments. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the webinar, which is invaluable if you are just starting out in the world of online forex trading.
If you have little to no experience of trading forex online, we would suggest using a broker that offers an in-house demo facility. For example, the likes of eToro allow you to access real-world market conditions without risking a penny.
Instead, you will be buying and selling currencies with forex demo account funds. In doing so, you can learn the ins and outs of how the forex markets work. Then, when you begin to get more comfortable, you can make the transition to a real-world money account. It’s worth considering both the size and time limits of the demo account so that you choose the one with the least restrictions.
When it comes to funding your forex brokerage account, you need to ensure that the platform supports your preferred payment method, especially if you want to use a method like an e-wallet or cryptocurrency.
On top of the specific banking methods, you also need to look at minimum deposit requirements. Furthermore, be sure to pay attention to any fees that you might need to pay to fund your account. For example, IG charges a 0.5% and 1% fee on Visa and MasterCard transactions.
Finally, spend some time assessing the customer support department at your chosen broker. The best UK forex trading platforms offer support on at least a 24/5 basis, as this mirrors standard opening hours of the global financial markets. We also prefer brokers that allow you to make contact via live chat.
Not only does this allow you to speak with a live agent in a matter of seconds, but you won’t need to pay any telephone charges. Other options include a live support ticket or email. For extra bonus points, it is always notable when a UK forex trading platform has a public presence on social media, with some offering support via Twitter.
Start Trading Forex
If you have read our guide up to this point, you should now have the capacity to find and choose a forex trading platform that best meets your needs. With that said, you might need a little bit of help in getting started. As such, below you will find a handy step-by-step walkthrough of how you can start trading forex today.
The following guidelines are based on eToro, our pick for the best forex trading platform in the UK, though the steps remain largely the same regardless of which platform you use!
Create an Account and Verify your Identity
Visit the eToro website and click on the ‘CREATE ACCOUNT’ button. You will then be prompted to enter some personal information, such as your:
- Full Name
- Date of Birth
- Contact Details
Not only is eToro regulated by the FCA, but it is also licensed by CySEC and ASIC. As a result, you now be asked to upload some verification documents. This includes a copy of your UK passport or driver’s license and a recent copy of a bank account statement or utility bill.
Once the above documents have been submitted, you should have your eToro account verified in less than 10 minutes!
You will now be asked to make a deposit. Although eToro accepts payments in pounds sterling, the deposit will be converted to US dollars at a conversion rate of 0.5%. This ensures that you have access to the global forex markets via a single platform.
Supported payment methods include:
- Debit Cards
- Credit Cards
- Bank Wire
All deposit methods are credited instantly unless you decide to transfer funds from your UK bank account.
Now that your eToro account has been funded, you can proceed to trade forex. You can head over to the ‘TRADE MARKETS’ section of the site and then click on ‘CURRENCIES’. Alternatively, you search for a specific currency pair to be taken straight to the respective trading arena. In our example, we are looking to trade GBP/USD so we enter this into the search box at the top of the page.
Then, you will need to fill in an order form. This includes the following metrics:
- Buy/Sell: If you place a buy order, this means that you think the exchange rate of the currency pair will increase. If you think the pair will decrease in value, opt for a sell order.
- Stake: This is the total amount that you will be risking on your forex trade in US dollars.
- Market/Limit Order: If you leave the order box set as a market order, your forex trade will be executed at the next available price. If you want to enter the forex trade at a specific price, change the order box to a limit order.
- Leverage: If you want to apply leverage on your forex trade, specify the multiple. You can apply up to 30:1 on majors at eToro, and 20:1 on minors.
- Stop-Loss: Don’t forget to set-up a stop-loss order, as this will mitigate your risks.
- Take-Profit: By setting up a take-profit order, you can lock-in your profits when a price target is hit.
To complete the forex trading process, click on ‘OPEN TRADE’.
With hundreds of brokers now active in the market, finding the best UK forex trading platforms is no easy feat. After all, no-two brokers are the same, so you need to have a think about the type of platform that you wish to sign up with.
For example, while some UK forex trading platforms specialize in low-fees, others are notable for offering close to a hundred different pairs. Ultimately, it is wise to conduct some research prior to opening a new forex trading account. If you don’t have time to do this yourself, it might be worth considering popular broker eToro.
eToro: Best Forex Trading Platform UK
- 0% forex trading commission
- Wide range of currency pairs
- Social and copy trading tools
- FCA regulated
To ensure we bring you the most reliable and accurate information possible, our writers use primary sources to support their content. These include studies, government resources and commentary from industry experts.
European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). “ ESMA to renew restrictions on CFDs, https://www.esma.europa.eu/press-news/esma-news/esma-renew-restrictions-cfds-further-three-months-1-may-2019“, Accessed June 10, 2020.
What currencies can I trade online?
The best UK forex trading platforms typically give you access to dozens of major and minor pairs. This includes the likes of USD/EUR, GBP/USD, and EUR/GBP. You will also find less liquid currency pairs at the best forex platforms, such as USD/TRY.
How do I deposit funds into a UK forex trading platform?
At a minimum, most UK forex brokers allow you to deposit funds with a UK debit/credit card or bank account. Others, such as eToro and Plus500, also support popular e-wallets.
Do commission-free forex brokers have hidden fees?
Yes and no. You might find that a commission-free broker has higher-than-average spreads, so you might need to review this yourself. Additionally, you will likely pay a commission if you keep the position open overnight.
Is forex trading legal in the UK?
It certainly is. In fact, the UK is home to one of the largest forex trading spaces in the world. The industry is regulated by the FCA in the UK, which ensures that you are able to buy and sell currencies in a safe and secure eco-system.
What is the best forex trading platform in the UK?
Having reviewed many brokers, we believe eToro is the UK's best forex trading platform. This is because of its wide range of currency pairs, 0% commission, social and copy trading tools, and strict regulation.