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Best UK Forex Brokers Comparison in 2020

What are the best Forex brokerage companies in the United Kingdom, what are their features, pros & cons, fees and registration process. We highlight these features here...
Kane Pepi
Author: Kane Pepi
Last Updated: March 19, 2020

Forex trading is big business for banks and other financial institutions, with trillions of pounds worth of currencies changing hands each and every day. With that being said, the industry is no longer reserved just for institutions. On the contrary, the best UK forex brokers now allow you to buy, sell, and trade dozens of currencies at the click of a button.

In fact, there are literally hundreds of forex brokers now operating in the UK market, most of which offer trading platforms via a desktop and mobile device.  However, this makes it difficult to know which forex broker to go with.

As such, we have created the ultimate guide to the Best UK Forex Brokers of 2020. We’ll start by discussing our top broker picks, each of which will come with a list of pros and cons to consider. We’ll then explain the fundamentals surrounding the industry, such as how forex trading works, how you can get started, and what risks you need to be made aware of.

Table of Contents

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    Best UK Forex Brokers 2020 – Best Brokers Compared

    Who are the best forex brokers in 2020 and who wins the UK forex broker comparison?

    The following list covers brokers that are tailored to both beginners and seasoned traders. As such, choose a broker that best meets your skill level. By the way, most brokers now come with fully-fledged investing apps, so you can also trade currencies on the move.

    1. eToro – Best Platform for Newbies With No Experience

    Let's be completely clear here. If you have never traded before and you're expecting to start making a living by buying and selling forex online, forget about it.

    The industry is a tough cookie to crack, not least because you need to have a fundamental understanding of how trading works. With that being said, if you've never placed a single forex trade in your life, we would strongly recommend eToro. The overarching reason for this is that the platform is designed for beginners.

    Crucially, its innovative Copy Trading feature allows you to mirror the trades of other investors. For example, if you come across an experienced investor that has an impeccable track record in trading GBP/USD, you can automatically copy their trades.

    eToro is also notable because it does not charge any trading commissions. The only fee that you'll pay is via the spread. Finally, eToro allows you to deposit funds with a range of everyday payment methods. On top of bank transfers and debit/credit cards, you can also deposit funds via an e-wallet like PayPal.

    Our Rating

    • Supports multiple payment methods including e-wallets
    • Fast registration and KYC process
    • Huge selection of forex pairs listed
    • Spreads can be high on less popular currency pairs
    • Customer support does not operate 7 days per week

    2. Interactive Brokers – Best Forex Platform For Liquidity

    If you're looking for a highly established trading platform that is home to heaps of liquidity, you might want to check out Interactive Brokers. Launched way back in 1977, the parent company is now listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange, and it holds multiple regulatory licenses. This includes the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In terms of the forex department itself, you can trade over 100 currency pairs.

    This covers major, minor, and exotic pairs, and the platform is operational 24 hours per day. Interactive Brokers also offers a fully-fledged trading platform that can be accessed via your web browser, desktop computer, or mobile phone. Trading fees will depend on the type of account you have.

    With that said, if you're trading less than $100,000 per month, or you haven't paid at least $10 in monthly commissions, you will need to make up the difference. As such, Interactive Brokers is best suited to those of you that are looking to trade large volumes.

    • Fees are low, although the specifics will depend on your account type
    • More than 100+ currency pairs listed
    • Excellent research tools
    • Charges an inactivity fee if less than $100,000 per month is traded
    • No fixed spread trading accounts

    3. Plus 500 – Easiest Web Trading Platform For Beginners

    Founded in 2008, Plus 500 is now one of the largest forex and CFD brokers in the UK space. In fact, the company is now listed on the London Stock Exchange. We really like Plus 500 for a number of key reasons.

    Firstly, the platform hosts a huge selection of forex pairs, all of which can be bought and sold 24/7. Plus 500 is also useful for those that have never traded online before. This is because the trading interface is super user-friendly, and you can customize the platform to meet your individual requirements.

    It is also notable that Plus 500 does not charge any commissions to trade forex, although you do need to keep an eye on the spread. For example, NZD/USD averages 3.6 pips, which is somewhat expensive. Nevertheless, you can get started at Plus 500 with a minimum deposit of just £100, and you'll also have the option of applying leverage to certain trades.

    Finally, Plus 500 also offers a mobile app that you can download to both Android and iOS. This is ideal if you like to trade while out of the house.

    Our Rating

    • Holds multiple licenses and is listed on the London Stock Exchange
    • User-friendly trading platform
    • Trade via your desktop or mobile device
    • Some spreads are priced quite highly
    • Minimal research tools

    Best Mobile Forex Broker

    Do you find yourself spending a lot of time buying, selling, and trading forex while on the move? If so, you’ll want to go with a broker that offers a fully-fledged mobile trading department. Check out the top pick that we have listed below.

    Markets.com – Best Mobile Forex Platform

    Mobile trading is getting more and more popular in the UK forex space. At the forefront of this is Markets.com, which now offers one of the most intuitive mobile trading departments in the industry. Launched in 1999, Markets.com has a global presence, with thousands of assets under its belt.

    This includes dozens of forex pairs from the major, minor, and exotic markets. You can open an account in less than a few minutes, and minimum deposits are set at £100. Moreover, the platform allows you to make deposits with debit/credit cards, although it can take 24 hours for the funds to be processed.

    One of the main drawbacks of using an established forex broker like Markets.com is that its fees are a bit expensive. It is also somewhat difficult to know exactly what you are paying, not least because fees are based on the account type that you hold. Finally, Markets.com is heavily regulated, and its parent company Playtech is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

    Our rating

    • Great reputation and holds multiple trading licenses
    • Accepts debit and credit cards
    • Extensive selection of forex pairs
    • More expensive than other brokers in the space
    • Limited product portfolio

    Cheapest Forex Broker

    If you find yourself trading larger amounts, one of your main priorities should be fees. This will either come in the form of a fixed per-trade fee, or a percentage of the amount that you invest. However, we prefer commission-free forex brokers that come with competitive spreads. We’ve listed our top pick for the cheapest forex broker below.

    CMC Markets – Best Broker For Super-Competitive Fees

    Launched in 1989, CMC Markets is a UK forex broker with a long-standing reputation in the financial sphere. Among many other jurisdictions, the platform is fully regulated by the FCA.

    The overarching advantage of choosing CMC Markets as your go-to broker is that it offers some of the lowest fees in the space. For example, some of the major currency pairs come with a spread of just 0.7 pips. The platform is also competitively priced if you plan to keep your positions open overnight.

    If you're an experienced trader that likes to employ sophisticated strategies, CMC Markets offers heaps of technical indicators. This also includes a good number of drawing tools and chart types, as well as a fully customizable trading screen. Although phone support is only available on a 24/5 basis, we really like the 30-second average waiting time for live chat.

    Our Rating

    • Trade major forex pairs from just 0.7 pips
    • Great mobile trading department
    • Heaps of technical indicators
    • Phone support only available 24/5
    • High stock CFD fees

    Best Forex Brokers for Reputation

    While a number of new-age platforms focus on industry-leading fees and cutting-edge technologies, some of you will look to prioritize safety. As such, if you’re looking for the best forex brokers for reputation, check out the top picks we’ve listed below.

    1. IG – Great for Research and Educational Tools

    IG is a UK forex broker that was launched way back in 1974. As such, it is one of the most trusted platforms in the market, with more than 195,000 clients under its belt. IG also holds a plethora of trading licenses from multiple jurisdictions, including that of the FCA. With 80 currency pairs listed at the broker, IG doesn't have the most extensive forex department in the arena.

    However, it more than makes up for this in other ways. For example, IG offers the much sought-after MT4 platform, which comes jam-packed with advanced charting tools. We also like the research and education department at the platform. This includes daily expert analysis from DailyFX, as well as user-friendly guides on key trading principles.

    • One of the most established brokers in the UK
    • Heaps of advanced charting tools
    • Great educational and research tools
    • Could do with adding more forex pairs
    • Imposes inactivity fees

     

    2. Saxo Capital – Great for Experienced Investors

    Saxo Capital is another UK forex broker that has an excellent reputation. Launched in 1992, the platform holds a range of regulatory licenses. You will need to deposit at least £1,500 to get started with the broker, although this shouldn't be a problem is you're a seasoned trader. If trading on leverage is your thing, Saxo Capital offers fully-fledged margin accounts. Just make sure that you understand the risks of margin trading.

    We also like Saxo Capital because of its involvement in other areas of the financial markets. This includes stocks and shares, indices, and options. Finally, the Saxo Capital trading arena also comes with a number of technical analysis tools.

    Our Rating

    • Great for experienced traders
    • Lots of advanced trading tools - including leverage
    • Massive collection of assets listed
    • Minimum account balance £1,500
    • Minimum account balance £1,500

    Note: While we have listed the pros and cons of each broker listed above, it is crucial that you only pick a platform that is regulated. In the UK, the FCA is resposible for egulated forex brokers.

    How We Rank Online Stock Brokers

    In order to provide you with an accurate and up-to-date analysis of each forex broker that we list, we personally open accounts and test the platform out for ourselves. This allows us to give you an in-depth overview of how each forex broker operates. All of our reviews are independent and impartial, meaning that we never allow a third-party platform to influence our findings.

    Below we have listed the main metrics that we look for when reviewing a new forex broker.

    • Fees and commissions
    • Number of currency pairs listed
    • Offers and promotions
    • Research and analytics tools
    • Trading platforms
    • User-friendliness and customer support

    Number of markets offered to the trader

    What is a Forex Broker? Forex Broker Definition

    Forex Trading

    First and foremost, let’s ensure that we understand what we mean by ‘forex’. Also referred to as FX, forex stands for ‘foreign exchange’. As the name suggests, forex is the process of trading one currency for another. While this is something that you have likely done when traveling to a foreign country, the industry itself is actually a muti-trillion pound arena.

    Most of this volume is dominated by big banks, who trade currencies with other institutions as a means to profit from pricing movements. With that said, if you’ve read our guide up to this point, then you’ll know that the forex trading scene is now available to everyday consumers.

    Note: Forex is also known as ‘inter-bank trading’ in the financial space. This is where big banks trade millions of pounds worth of currency in a single transaction.

    As such, when you use an online forex broker, you will be able to buy and sell currencies at the click of a button. The trading platform essentially acts as a third party, and it will match your trades with other investors. In return, forex brokers typically make their money from the spread. This is the difference between the ‘bid’ and ‘ask’ price.

    The overarching concept of using a forex broker is to make money. For example, let’s say that you are trading GBP/USD. If you ‘buy’ the pair at $1.60, and you sell it for $1.70, you will have made a profit from the upward price movement. Similarly, if you ‘sell’ GBP at $1.60, and then buy it at $1.50, you would have also made a profit. As such, you need to speculate whether your chosen currency pair will go up or down in price. To do this, you’ll need to use a forex broker.

    How do Forex Brokers Work?

    Below we have outlined a more in-depth overview of how forex broker platforms work.

    ✔️ When you find a forex broker that meets your individual needs, you will then need to open an account. This works in the same way as opening a new bank account, insofar that you will need to verify your identity. Most forex brokers will ask for your full name, home address, date of birth, and if applicable – tax number. You will also need to supply some contact details.

    ✔️ Just like a bank account application, forex brokers will then ask you to supply some documentation. This is to ensure the broker remains compliant with anti-money laundering laws. In the UK, the FCA requires all forex brokers to verify the identity of its clients. As such, you’ll need to upload a clear copy of your government-issued ID. This can be either a driver’s license or passport.

    ✔️ Now that you have verified your identity, you can proceed to deposit some funds. Most brokers will have a minimum deposit amount in place, although this will vary from site-to-site. Deposit methods will also depend on your broker of choice. Some platforms allow you to deposit with a debit/credit card, bank transfer, and even an e-wallet like PayPal. 

    ✔️ At this stage of the process, you should now have a fully verified and funded forex broker account. If so, you can now place your first trade. Brokers will typically list dozens of forex pairs for you to choose from. If you have a particular trading pair in mind, you can search for it. Once you are on the trading screen for the pair you wish to buy or sell, you’ll need to decide which way you think the market will go.

    ✔️ If you think the left-handed currency of the pair will increase, then you will place a ‘buy’ order. Placing a ‘sell’ order would indicate that you believe the right-handed currency will increase. For example, if trading GBP/USD, and you think that GBP will increase in value, you’d need to place a buy order. On the contrary, if you were more confident on USD, you would sell the pair. Once the trade is placed, you can close the order at any time.

    How do Forex Broker Fees Work?

    The fees charged by forex brokers can appear somewhat confusing at first glance. The reason for this is that a number of different pricing structures are utilized by brokers. We’ve outlined the fundamentals below.

    ? Most forex brokers will charge a commission. This can be charged on a fixed-fee basis, meaning that you will pay a standard fee every time you place a trade. For example, the broker might charge £1 for every trade that you make. You would pay this fee when you open the trade, as well as when you close it. Large volume traders will usually benefit from a lower fixed fee. 

    ? Some forex brokers will instead charge a variable fee. This will be calculated against the total size of your order. For example, if the broker charges 0.5%, and the size of your forex order is £1,500, you would pay £7.50 in fees. This particular model is best suited for those that trade really small amounts.  

    ? A number of forex brokers advertise commission-free trading. However, you still need to keep an eye out for the spread. This will have a direct impact on your ability to make a profit. In other words, although you are not paying a trading fee per-say, a high spread would make it more difficult to make small profits. 

    ? You also need to make some considerations regarding funding fees. This is only applicable if you are looking to engage in margin trading. Depending on how much leverage you require, the broker will charge you a fee for holding positions overnight. This is charged as a percentage of the total amount that you borrow from the broker.

    Trading Forex Example

    If you’re just starting out in the world of forex trading, it’s crucial that you have a firm understanding of how the space actually works. To help you along the way, we’ve listed the steps that you will need to take.

    Step 1: Choosing a Currency Pair

    First and foremost, you will need to choose a currency pair to trade. Don’t forget, you are speculating how one currency will change in price against another. For example, if trading EUR/USD, you need to decide whether EUR will go up or down in price against the USD.

    It is also important to note that forex pairs come in three different bands – majors, minors, and exotics.

    ? Major Pairs

    Major pairs are the most traded currencies in the world. Think along the lines of the US Dollar (USD), Pound Sterling (GBP) and the EURO (EUR).

    ? Minor Pairs

    Minor pairs will contain one major currency and one less liquid currency. For example, NZD/JPY is a minor pair, as is GBP/CAD.

    ? Exotic Pairs

    Exotic pairs contain an emerging currency alongside a major currency. These typically struggle for liquidity, so you’ll find that the spread is often higher. This includes the likes of USD/TRY and USD/ZAR.

    Step 2: Check the Spread

    Before you start trading your chosen forex pair, you need to assess what the spread is. This is the difference between the ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ price. For example, let’s say that you are trading EUR/USD.

    Illustratin of how spread betting works

    If the buy price is 1.13606, and the sell price is 1.13598, this leaves us with a difference of 0.0006. Forex traders identify the difference in ‘pips’. In the case of EUR/USD, the pip is taken after the fourth digit. As such, the spread in this example would be 0.6 pips. The higher the pips, the more you are indirectly paying in trading fees.

    Step 3: Decide Whether you Want to Buy or Sell

    So now that you’ve calculated the spread, you need to decide which way you think the market will go on your chosen forex pair. Let’s stick with EUR/USD as our example. If you think that EUR will ‘increase’ in price against the USD, you need to place a ‘buy’ order.

    On the contrary, you think that EUR will ‘decrease’ against the USD, then you need to place a ‘sell’ order. Make sure you understand how this works before you start trading, as a mistake could be costly.

    Step 4: Select Your Position Size

    Monitoring price movements on a chart

    You now need to determine how much you want to stake on your trade. This is known as the ‘position size’. The calculation is a lot more complex in comparison to buying traditional stocks and shares, as you’ll need to choose how much you want to stake per pip. You also need to consider the size of the lot that is associated with your chosen pair.

    Step 5: Install Stop-Losses

    Ask any seasoned trader and they will tell you the importance of setting up a stop-loss order. This is where your trade is automatically closed when the price goes against you. For example, let’s say that you’re trading at GBP/USD. The current price is $1.34, and you believe that the USD will increase against GBP.

    As such, you place a ‘sell’ order. However, the trade goes against you and GBP/USD hits $1.40. Fortunately for you, by setting up a stop-loss order at $1.36, your losses were kept to a minimum.

    Leverage at a UK Forex Broker

    If you have a tendency to take higher risks when investing, you might be considering applying leverage to your trades. This is where you purchase more forex than you actually have in your account. On the one hand, leverage can be great if things go your way, not least because you can amplify your profits. However, if a leveraged trade goes wrong, you could lose a lot of money. Once again, this is why you should always install a sensible stop-loss order on all of your forex trades.

    ESMA: In 2018, the European Union created a new body to govern the rules surrounding online trading. The European Securities Markets Authority (ESMA) implemented a number of regulations as to the amount of leverage that you can apply to forex trades. This amounts to a limit of 30:1 on major pairs, and 20:1 on minors/exotics.

    It is important to note that the UK will soon be leaving the European Union. Nobody knows how this will impact forex trading in the UK, not least because it will no longer be bound by ESMA regulations.

    Factors to Consider When Choosing an Online Forex Broker 

    • Account minimum – Forex brokers will stipulate the minimum account balance that you need to keep to trade on the platform. This will vary depending on the broker you use. Most platforms will require at least £100.
    • Fees or commissions – Fees are really important when choosing a new forex broker, not least because they will eat into your potential profits. Things to look out for is the size of the commission charged, and how large the average spread is on your chosen pair.
    • Availability of forex analysis tools – Regardless of how much experience you have in the forex space, analysis tools are crucial. This should include fundamental news analysis in real-time, and a range of technical indicators to help you read charts.
    • Number of pairs: You should stick with platforms that offer an extensive number of trading pairs. This should include a good mixture of major, minor, and exotic currencies.
    • Payment Methods: Assess what payment methods the forex broker supports prior to registering an account. Possible options include a debit/credit card, bank account, or e-wallet.
    • Leverage: If you’re the type of trader that likes to apply leverage, check to see whether the broker supports margin accounts.
    • Customer service and support – You are best off using a forex broker that offers top-notch customer support. On top of offering 24/7 customer service, we prefer brokers that provide live chat and telephone support.

    Conclusion

    You should now have a really good understanding of the types of factors that you need to look out for when choosing a UK forex broker. Whether its FCA regulation, trading fees, the spread, customer support, or the number of pairs listed – you now have the required tools to find a broker that is right for you.

    To help you along the way, we also listed our top picks for the best forex brokers currently in the UK market. This includes the best broker for newbies, mobile trading, trust, and low fees. Crucially, even if you do decide to go with one of the brokers we have recommended, you still need to perform your own research prior to making a deposit.

    Trade with eToro - 0% Trading Fees

    Our Rating

    etoro logo
    • Supports social trading, copy trading and copy portfolio features
    • Trade on the go via the eToro mobile trader
    • Highly transparent fee structure
    • A wide range of advanced trading tools and analytics
    etoro logo
    62% of investors lose money when trading CFDs.

    FAQs

    What is a forex broker platform?

    Forex broker platforms allow you to buy and sell currency pairs from the comfort of your own home. The platform matches your trades with other buyers, which is how liquidity remains strong in the forex space.

    What is the easiest forex pair to trade?

    There is no such thing as an 'easy' pair to trade, as you still need to have a good understanding of how forex works. However, if you're looking for pairs with low levels of volatility, you should stick with major currencies.

    What is the minimum deposit required at a forex broker?

    Minimum deposit amounts will vary from platform-to-platform. Some allow you to get started with just £10, while others will require £1,000 or more.

    Who regulates UK forex brokers?

    Forex broker regulation in the UK is the responsibility of the FCA. However, for as long as the UK remains a member of the European Union, UK brokers must also comply with ESMA.

    How much leverage can I trade with at a UK forex broker

    UK forex brokers must comply with the leverage rules outlined by ESMA. This means a maximum leverage amount of 30:1 on major pairs, and 20:1 on minor/exotic pairs.

    What is an exotic currency pair?

    An exotic currency pair is typically made up of one major currency, and a currency from an emerging market. USD/ZAR is an example of an exotic pair.

    What payment methods do forex brokers accept?

    The vast majority of forex brokers based in the UK will accept a bank transfer. Some brokers will also support a debit/credit card, and in some cases, an e-wallet like PayPal.

    Forex Brokers
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    Kane Pepi

    Kane holds academic qualifications in the finance and financial investigation fields. With a passion for all-things finance, he currently writes for a number of online publications.