THE MARKET NERD PICKSGet to know your Broker!
Foreign exchange brokers are financial service companies that provide customers with platforms where they can buy and sell foreign exchange currencies. A broker plays the role of a bridge between retail speculators and the foreign exchange market. There are thousands of brokers available at the touch of our fingertips, however the choice of a broker is not something that should be underestimated. Each broker offers certain tools and services to aid their clients in the journey of forex trading. Brokers also have different spreads and commissions.
The main aspect that differentiates brokers is regulation. As safety of your account and your capital comes first, it is very important for you to choose a regulated broker. You can learn more about brokers here. We have reviewed and experienced most of European Union regulated brokers and here are our Top Picks:
Reliable, Safe and Easy to use
|Trading Platforms:||MT4, MT5, WebTrader, AvaOptions, AvaTradeGO, Ava Social|
Join 300,000+ traders worldwide.
(72% of retail investor accounts lose money)
Smooth execution of large orders
|Trading Platforms||MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, cTrader, Other|
Join 1.86M+ traders worldwide.
(72.87% of retail investor accounts lose money)
Low Fees, Free deposits/withdrawals
|Trading Platforms||MT4, MT5, cTrader|
Join 180,000+ traders worldwide.
(74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money)
Great for beginners and copy trading
|Trading platforms||Proprietary platform|
Join 24.8M+ traders worldwide.
(68% of retail investor accounts lose money)
Wide range of analytics/other content
|Trading Platforms||MT4, MT5, MetaTrader Supreme Edition|
Join 48,000+ traders worldwide.
(78% of retail investor accounts lose money)
Best overall broker, most trusted
|Trading Platforms||MT4, ProRealTime, proprietary trading platform|
Join 313,000+ traders worldwide.
(74% of retail investor accounts lose money)
MARKETNERD TOP PICKS:
AvaTrade - www.avatrade.com
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. This content is intended for information and educational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice or investment recommendation.
AvaTrade is a trusted global brand best known for offering an extensive selection of trading platforms for forex and CFD traders, as well as exceptional educational content that helped it nab a Best in Class rating for Beginners for 2022.
Commission and Fees
- AvaTrade’s spreads are close to the industry average at just under one pip (0.9 pips), yet are slightly higher than the spreads available on the entry-level accounts.
- Professional traders: If you qualify as an elected professional trader, spreads on AvaTrade’s Professional account are competitive at 0.6 pips.
- It takes just $100 to open an account and AvaTrade offers no volume discounts or guaranteed stop losses.
- They charge a $50 fee after three months of account inactivity and a $100 administration fee after one year of inactivity. As mentioned, no withdrawal or closure fees are listed in the marketing materials but the legal documents noted fees for bank transfers and credit card transactions.
- Withdrawal processing can be unusually slow, requiring as long as 10 business days to receive wire transfers. Islamic accounts are offered but they will incur wider spreads.
Is my money safe in AvaTrade?
Yes, your money is as safe with AvaTrade as it would be with any online broker that is globally regulated in top-tier jurisdictions and authorized to hold its client’s funds. AvaTrade is trusted by over 300,000 customers with millions of dollars in deposits. There is always counterparty risk, which is why you should only choose brokers that are well-capitalized, in addition to being highly regulated.
The Central Bank of Ireland is one of AvaTrade’s many regulators, and AvaTrade segregates all client money from its own business funds. AvaTrade is also WebTrust compliant, and follows best practices to secure client information in terms of cybersecurity.
Market Nerd Verdict
Our conclusion is that AvaTrade is a reliable, safe and easy to use broker for your trading endeavors. It has a wide array of features that will make for a great trading experience.
Keep in mind that AvaTrade is a regulated broker by many top tier jurisdictions, it also provides different user friendly platforms, as well as no commissions and low spreads. That makes it an easy choice for Market Nerd.
FXPro - www.fxpro.com
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Trade Responsibly: 72.87% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. This content is intended for information and educational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice or investment recommendation.
Founded in 2006, FxPro has executed more than 455 million orders since its inception and has serviced 1.8 million clients in over 173 countries. As of 2021, FxPro lists over $100 million in Tier 1 capital and has more than 200 employees across its four offices. The FxPro brand holds regulatory licenses in the United Kingdom under FxPro UK Limited, Cyprus under FxPro Financial Services Limited, South Africa, and the Bahamas.
Commissions and fees
- FxPro’s pricing is higher than the industry average, putting it at a disadvantage compared to industry peers like IC Markets, which offer the full MetaTrader and cTrader suites.
- Execution method: On FxPro’s MT4 offering, traders can choose variable or fixed spreads. For the variable-spread pricing, there are two types of execution-based pricing: instant and market. Instant execution is subject to requotes but no slippage, while market execution has the potential for slippage – but without requotes.
- Commissions: FxPro’s most competitive spreads are available on its cTrader platform, which features commission-based pricing. FxPro’s effective spread for trading the EUR/USD pair on cTrader is roughly 1.27 pips. This figure takes into account FxPro’s average spread (from August 2020) of 0.37 pips, as well as a 0.9 pip commission-equivalent.
- Spreads: FxPro’s floating-rate (variable spread) model is available on MT4 and MT5, featuring EUR/USD spreads of 1.58 for accounts on market execution (1.51 pips on MT5), and 1.71 for accounts with instant execution – as per FxPro’s data from August 2020.
- Fixed pricing: On MT5, there is no fixed-spread offering, and only market execution is available.
- Active traders: FxPro offers an Active Trader program as part of its VIP account offering, although its discounts are not as attractive as what’s available from competitors.
- Executing large orders: No question; FxPro’s best feature is its ability to execute large orders, placed with no minimum distance away from the current market price.
Market Nerd Verdict
FxPro is a reliable broker that can easily accommodate professional traders in the smooth execution of large orders, with different execution methods and multiple platforms.
You have to consider that FxPro has a higher operational cost compared to the industry standard, also its FxPro Edge App is a little limited, but it is available for different devices.
IC Markets - www.icmarkets.com
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74-89% 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. This content is intended for information and educational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice or investment recommendation.
IC Markets is an Australia-based global forex broker founded in 2007. The company has several branches and is regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), the Seychelles Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).IC Markets is considered safe because it is regulated by the top-tier ASIC.
Commissions and fees
- Trading Costs: Considering the small effective spreads and the low deposit requirement for its commission-based accounts, IC Markets’ trading costs rival the best low-cost forex brokers.
- Global entity: Spreads at IC Markets vary depending on the trading platform you use, your account type, and your chosen IC Markets entity. IC Markets has three regulatory entities available: European (based in Cyprus), Australian, or its offshore entity based in Seychelles.
- Account types: IC Markets offers three account options: the commission-free Standard account (spread only), and the commission-based Raw Spread and cTrader Raw Spread accounts.
- cTrader versus MetaTrader accounts: The cTrader Raw Spread and the IC Markets (MT4 or MT5) Raw Spread accounts have a near-identical commission structure. The difference in pricing between the two comes down to platform choice. The cTrader-linked account commission is lower by about a tenth of a pip, at $3.0 per side for every 100,000 units, or $6.00 per RT. The Raw Spread account, which uses MT4 or MT5, charges $3.5 per side for every 100,000 units (1 standard lot) or $7.00 per round turn (RT).
- Effective spreads: IC Markets lists its average spread on the EUR/USD at 0.02 pips (August 2021). After adding the commission equivalent of 0.6 pips for the cTrader account, the all-in cost comes to 0.62 pips (or 0.72 on MetaTrader in the Raw Spread account) – which is competitive. Alternatively, the Standard account lists an average spread of 0.62 pips and is commission-free, making it an attractive option.
- Active traders: IC Markets offers discounts to traders that trade over 100 standard lots per month.
- Agency and dealer execution: IC Markets provides execution on an agency basis, which means orders may be subject to positive or negative slippage – there are no requotes and no instant execution. That said, IC Markets is still considered a dealer and counterparty to your trade. Though it routes orders to nearly two dozen liquidity providers, it does not hedge all trades and thus does manage some risk as a counterparty (dealing desk).
Is my money Safe with IC Markets?
Yes, your money is safe with IC Markets. IC Markets is authorised by one tier-1 regulator (high trust), one tier-2 regulator (average trust), and one tier-3 regulator (low trust). IC Markets is authorised by the following tier-1 regulators: Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC)
Market Nerd Verdict
ICMarkets is a broker that offers many advantages for traders, such as low fees, free of charge deposits and withdrawals with a user-friendly process. Opening an account is also easy and fast with them.
ICMarkets could improve it´s support, also non-EU clients are not covered by any investor protection scheme. You also have to remember that they only offer Forex and CFD products.
ETORO - www.etoro.com
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. eToro is a multi-asset platform which offers both investing in stocks and cryptoassets, as well as trading CFD assets. Please note that CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 68% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. This content is intended for information and educational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice or investment recommendation.
eToro is trusted by over 13 million traders globally and is licensed to hold client funds and provide brokerage services in numerous countries. Following a $10.4 billion merger, eToro was listed on the NASDAQ in Q3 2021. Founded in 2007, eToro is regulated in two tier-1 jurisdictions and one tier-2 jurisdiction, making it a safe broker (low-risk) for trading forex and CFDs.
Commissions and fees
eToro is a market-maker broker and lists a typical variable spread of 1 pip on the EUR/USD, which is slightly higher than the industry average. Considering its trading fees, retail traders don’t choose eToro for its spreads, but rather for its social copy trading platform capabilities.
- VIP accounts: eToro offers a VIP club (called eToro Club) with five tiers of membership that range from Silver to Diamond. These tiers are for traders who maintain balances between $5,000-$250,000 and feature varying benefits depending on the level of membership. VIP perks range from access to Trading Central, to discounted withdrawal and deposit fees, to a dedicated account manager – among other VIP-style benefits.
- Popular Investor program: eToro’s Popular Investor program (for traders who allow other investors to copy their strategy) has four levels – ranging from Cadet to Elite – where traders can become eligible for various perks. To qualify for the Cadet tier you must have more than $1,000 in account equity, attract $500 in customer assets that copy your strategy, and maintain a risk score below 7 for at least two months. Benefits available to Popular Investors include spread rebates, monthly payments, and even a management fee for those who reach elite status.
- Cryptocurrency trading: Overall, eToro’s pricing is close to the industry average for trading physical cryptocurrency – such as 0.75% for buying or selling bitcoin – while its fiat-to-crypto conversion fee is high at 5% (1% eToro fee and 4% Simplex fee). Meanwhile, converting from crypto to crypto at eToro only costs 0.1% (in addition to prevailing spreads). With a large number of crypto assets – both CFDs and the underlying assets – eToro is our No. 1 broker for Crypto Trading for 2022.
Is my money safe with eToro?
Yes, your money is safe with eToro. eToro is trusted by over 24.8 million traders globally and is licensed to hold client funds and provide brokerage services in numerous countries. Following a $10.4 billion merger, eToro was listed on the NASDAQ in Q3 2021. Founded in 2007, eToro is regulated in two tier-1 jurisdictions and one tier-2 jurisdiction, making it a safe broker (low-risk) for trading forex and CFDs.
Factors that determine trust in financial services include proper regulatory licensing, operational history, adequate financial capital to ensure solvency, and a track record of excellent customer service. In all of these areas, eToro has proven itself more than capable of earning clients’ trust.
Market Nerd Verdict
eToro is a great choice if you want to use the power of copy trading, also it is very useful for highly-experienced traders who want to share their trading ideas and be rewarded for it.
The user-friendly platform can be perceived as an added benefit to those traders that are just getting started and require a more guided approach. Now, when it comes to active or high-volume traders, the high spreads and maximum trade sizes will limit your experience, therefore we do not recommend it, also algorithmic trading is not supported.
Admiral Markets - www.admiralmarkets.com
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 78% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. This content is intended for information and educational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice or investment recommendation.
Admirals was founded in 2001 in Estonia, by Alexander Tsikhilov, a former engineer. In 2019, Admiral Markets started collaborating with Trading Central,Acuity and Dow Jones & Company to provide a analytical portal for its clients.The company was registered as Security and commodity contracts broker in 2003, and listed on Nasdaq Tallin’s Baltic Bond Lis in January 2018.In 2019, Admiral Markets received Global Banking & Finance reward as the Best Forex Company Estonia 2019. In 2021, the company changed its brand name from Admiral Markets to Admirals. As of 2021, the company has affiliates and trading licenses in the United Kingdom, Australia, Cyprus and Jordan.
Commission and Fees
- Admiral Markets’ spreads start from 0.0 pips.
- Admiral Markets offers a spread list which is transparent. The commissions which are charged are relatively low when compared to other brokers.
- When making use of Admiral Markets to facilitated trading, traders can expect some of the following spreads and commissions as per the account type offered:
- Trade.MT5 – spreads from 0.5 pips and commissions from 0.01 USD per share on Single Share and ETF CFDs.
- Invest.MT5 – spreads from 0.0 pips and commissions from 0.02 USD per share on stocks and ETFs.
- Zero.MT5 – spreads from 0.0 pips and commissions from 1.8 to 3.0 USD per 1.0 lots on forex and metals, 0.05 to 3.0 USD per 1.0 lots on cash indices, and 1 USD per 1.0 lots on energies.
- Trade.MT4 – spreads from 0.5 pips and commissions from 0.01 USD per share on single share and ETF CFDs.
- Zero.MT4 – spreads from 0.0 pips and commissions from 1.8 to 3.0 USD per 1.0 lots on forex and metals, 0.05 to 3.0 USD per 1.0 lots on cash indices, and 1 USD per 1.0 lots on energies.
Is my money safe with Admiral
Yes, your money is safe with Admiral Markets. Admiral Markets is not publicly traded, does not operate a bank, and is authorised by two tier-1 regulators (high trust), two tier-2 regulators (average trust), and zero tier-3 regulators (low trust). Admiral Markets is authorised by the following tier-1 regulators: Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Market Nerd Verdict
IG - www.ig.com
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 74% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. This content is intended for information and educational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice or investment recommendation.
As an early pioneer in offering contracts for difference (CFDs) and spread betting, IG was founded in 1974 and has grown to be a global leader in the online trading industry. IG is a London-based public company listed on the London Stock Exchange’s FTSE 250 (LON: IGG) with a market capitalization of £3.539B as of October 2021.
As of its annual report for the financial year ending May 31, 2021, IG has 2,034 staff, servicing nearly 313,300 active clients globally across its regulated entities in the UK and internationally.
Commissions and fees
- IG’s size allows it to provide scalable execution across the board – regardless of the product being traded. While IG can’t be considered a discount broker, it shines for the active trader pricing available through its Forex Direct accounts, and its ability to execute large orders. Spreads on its main account offering are closer to the industry average in 2021, with spreads averaging 0.828 the majority of the time (23 hours a day) during September 2021.
- CFD account average spreads:For both mini and standard-size contracts, typical spreads during the main trading session (22 hours each day from 0000 – 2200 GMT) averaged 0.768 pips for the month of September 2021 – which is slightly better than the industry average. It is worth noting that – just like with most forex brokers – IG’s spreads during low-liquid times can be higher than normal, averaging 0.994 pips when including the remaining hours in the trading day (2100 to 0000 GMT) during the same timeframe as the above September 2021 data.
- CFD account active trader rebates:For volume traders who qualify as professionals under EU rules, IG offers pricing discounts via its three-tier active-trader rebate program. In tier one, you can earn a 10% spread rebate if you transact over £50 million worth of forex volume per month. Meanwhile, if you trade over £300 million per month, the rebate jumps to as much as 20%. To put this into a different context, 20% off of 0.76 pips is 0.17 pips, which would result in an all-in cost of just 0.60 pips – a very competitive spread.
- DMA account (Forex Direct):For the savviest traders seeking more significant discounts than what is offered in the CFD account, the DMA account is an even better option than the active trader rebates on IG’s spread-only pricing. This commission-based offering, Forex Direct, is available via the DMA account and provides traders access to the L2 Dealer platform. The DMA account requires just a £1,000 minimum and uses a tiered pricing scale based on the trader’s previous month’s trading volume.
- DMA account average spreads:With average spreads of 0.165 on the EUR/USD for the 12 weeks ending March 19th, 2019, the all-in spread is 1.3 pips using the base tier of $60 per million for traders that do less than $100 million per month. Traders that do over 1.5 yards (one yard = $1 billion in volume) see their per-side commission drop to $10 per million ($20 round-turn), resulting in an effective spread of 0.365 pips – using the 2019 data.
- Execution method:Forex Direct streams from interbank liquidity providers where IG acts as an agency broker. IG doesn’t add on any additional spread, instead adding a commission to each trade you make.
Is my money safe with IG?
Yes, IG holds more regulatory licenses than any other online broker that offers forex and CFDs. Its decades of operation, reputation, and requirements as a publicly traded company mean IG is considered a safe broker to hold client assets, including cash money.
IG holds your funds across a variety of banks and collectively services over 313,000 active clients as of its latest trading update in early 2022. It is important to use a broker that is well-capitalized to reduce your potential counterparty risk, and IG’s market capitalization of over 3.19 billion pounds (as of May 12, 2021), makes it a safe choice.
Market Nerd Verdict
As an online broker, IG goes above and beyond to offer a rich experience with many options for investing in financial markets. Its trading costs, platforms, ease of use, education, mobile apps, research, range of markets, and trading tools make it a winner.
IG is an excellent broker that ranks at the top in nearly all key categories of importance to traders so MarketNerd would definitely suggest it for beginners and professional traders.