Top online brokers for trading in 2021
Are you looking to trade online this year? If so, you’ll need to select a broker who can help make your trading goals become a reality. Below is a list of our Top Online Brokers.
The term “broker” has undergone something of a sea change in recent years. While it formerly referred exclusively to an occupation held by people who connected traders to trading opportunities, things are now different. In the Internet age, the term “broker” now also refers to an online platform which lets you place trades and monitor the markets. If you’re thinking of trading online, then, this guide to brokers is for you.
Choosing from Top Online Brokers is a big decision and one that can have an impact on your trading career, so it’s definitely important to choose wisely. To start with, each broker takes a slightly different approach to their product, and hence each one has a bespoke range of services. Some brokers, for example, choose to follow a commission-free pricing model, which means that while you might not pay flat fees, you might have to pay higher proportional fees on the spread between the buy and sell prices.
Other brokers, meanwhile, choose to only accommodate certain varieties of trading software. MetaTrader, for example, is perhaps the most famous trading software and technical analysis tool package – but even now in 2021, there’s real diversity between brokers when it comes to MetaTrader compatibility, with some offering the latest version and some refusing to offer it at all. There is, then, plenty of diversity!
Before reading more about each top online brokers and the differences between them, why not check out our list of awards?
- XM Group – platform with the best platform technology offer
- FXCM – platform with the most cost-conscious pricing and deposit offers
- eToro – platform with the best copy-trading and social trading offer
- FXTM – platform with a strong variety of instruments to trade
- Pepperstone – platform with good customer service options
FXTM is a well-known broker that has been in business for almost a decade. It has a vast range of CFD equity options on offer. But, unusually for a modern broker, it doesn’t offer cryptocurrencies.
The minimum deposit at FXTM is usually $10 US dollars or €10 euros. The MetaTrader 4 trading platform is available for all clients, and there’s a mobile app called FXTM Trader as well. Commissions are charged on certain transactions for those users using an ECN Account (MT4) or an FXTM ECN MT5 Account. For stocks, the spread offered run from 1 point to 21 points while for ETFs, the spreads go from 1 pip to 130 pips. For forex, the spreads go from 0.10 pips to 13.8 pips.
Why choose FXTM?
– There are more than 160 different CFD equities are on offer, plus a double-figure number of equity index CFDs.
– The FXTM Invest platform is available for those who want to match to a particular trader and copy their trades.
AvaTrade is an Irish broker with a worldwide approach and comes with a leading array of courses and trading education options. However, its spreads can be a little high – and some ordering tools are absent, like emergency stop losses.
The minimum deposit at AvaTrade is $100 US dollars. A wide range of trading platforms are available including MetaTrader 4 and 5 as well as Sirix and the in-house AvaOptions. There are no commission fees at AvaTrade, although it is the case that some spreads are high. Those trading binary options have a spread of 0.9 points to 85 points, while for stocks the spread goes from 0.13% to 0.36%. ETF traders, meanwhile, can enjoy a spread of 0.13% to 0.15%.
Why choose AvaTrade?
– AvaTrade offers the latest version of MetaTrader as well as lots of alternative options – and a comprehensive education package.
– There are 59 forex pairs available to choose from, and the pip spread ranges from 0.9 to 90.
FXCM is popular for its range of trading platforms, and also because it doesn’t charge the earth when it comes to spreads.
There is a minimum deposit of £300 GBP at FXCM, which is relatively low. Lots of trading platforms are available, including conventionally popular ones such as MetaTrader 4 as well as less well-known ones like FXCM Trading Station for web, computers and phones.
Why choose FXCM?
– There are no restrictions in place on stop and limit orders.
– It offers relatively low spreads of between 1.4 pips and 98 pips for forex, and a high level of liquidity.
This Australian broker is respected because of its foreign exchange focus. And it has also avoided introducing various fees, such as ones on inactivity or withdrawals.
The minimum deposit at Pepperstone is somewhat high at $200 AUD, and this applies to various account types as well. Pepperstone does now offer MetaTrader 5 as well as the older version, 4 – plus apps for both iOS and Android. ETF spreads at this broker have spreads of 0.3 to 16.18, and forex spreads run from 1 to 100.7.
Why choose Pepperstone?
– Its customer support scheme is good and operates 24 hours a day during the forex trading week.
– For advanced traders it offers cTrader. It also offers a range of apps for mobile phones.
This broker offers low spreads, sometimes as small as zero pips – and it has lots of trading platforms on offer. Yet there have been some claims that technical support is difficult to come by.
At XM Group, the minimum deposit you’ll have to make is $5 – although this can vary based on account type. It is compatible with various different trading platforms including MetaTrader 5. Fees at XM Group are integrated into the spread, with spreads starting at 0.6 for forex. For stocks, spreads run from 0 to 5.65. And for ETFs, the spread ranges of 0.60 to 18.00.
Why choose XM Group?
– It offers a good bonus programme, with deposits of up to $5,000 often eligible for a boost.
– It has won more than 30 awards.
eToro is known primarily for being a copy-trading platform, although in reality it also offers a range of other services such as self-trading.
The minimum deposit at eToro is $200, which is somewhat high – dragging down its rating. In terms of trading platforms, the firm offers its own in-house service which fits with its distinctive nature. Various purchases, such as ETFs and long/buy orders, do not incur commission – although there is a $5 flat fee on withdrawals. Forex trading spreads start at 1 pip and go up to 50 pips, while stock trading spreads run from 0.75 to 3. ETF spreads, meanwhile, are 0.
Why choose eToro?
– It’s possible to trade forex without much effort thanks to the copy trading and social trading functions, although no outcomes are guaranteed.
– There are no deposit fees.
Plus 500 is a big name on the forex trading scene, and offers over 60 foreign exchange pairs. There is, however, no customer support phone number.
The minimum deposit at Plus 500 is $100. It offers its own trading platform, but it isn’t compatible with MetaTrader – which again lets it down. Many account activities and processes are commission-free, including foreign exchange quotes. Forex spreads kick off at 0.01% and go up to 1.59%. Binary options spreads begin at 0.98% and extend to 70.93%, while stock spreads are as low as 0.02% and as high as 10.36%. ETF spreads, finally, range from 0.04% to 6.32%.
Why choose Plus 500?
– There are many order tools available, such as stop losses.
– Leverage can vary, and can go as high as 60 for forex.
iTrader offers a range of benefits to traders, including three different choices of account. And while it focuses to a large extent on forex, it also focuses in part on other options like CFD shares with floating spreads from a minimum of 0.021 pips.
At iTrader, the minimum deposit required is $250. On the subject of trading platforms, it’s compatible with MetaTrader 4 – but not with the most recent version. Fees on the platform vary, and there are no deposit fees – although there is an inactivity fee. Forex spreads begin at 0.7 pips and go to 120 pips.
Why choose iTrader?
– There are more than 100 currency pairs on offer for traders to choose from
– Automated trading is available, and there is a customer service system in place.
As the name suggests, Forex.com is a leading broker – and it claims to be the largest MetaTrader broker in the world. It also offers more than 90 pairs.
The minimum amount you’ll need to deposit at Forex.com is $50 – or 50 in another base currency. For trading platforms, it offers lots of platforms including MetaTrader 4 and even an innovative MT4 VPS Hosting version – although no MetaTrader 5. There are some commissions on share CFD trading.
Why choose Forex.com?
– There are no fees on deposits made by debit or credit card.
– There is a customer support system in place which operates for 24 hours per day.
IQ Option is a regulated broker which provides forex traders with benefits like a diverse range of asset classes.
The lowest amount you’ll need to make a deposit at IQ Option is $10 – although it does also say that it requires a $25 minimum investment. When it comes to the trading platforms on offer, IQ Option offers various tools including MetaTrader 4. In terms of fees, the broker offers fee-free deposits – although some swap fees are in place. Binary options spreads start at 0.006% and go up to 0.337%, while stock spreads are floating. ETF spreads start at 0.027% and go up to 0.546%. For forex, spreads start at 0.8 pips and go up to 5.8 pips.
Why choose IQ Option?
– The broker accepts several deposit methods such as PayPal and Skrill.
– There are 48 forex pairs on offer to trade.
More of our top online brokers
Swissquote has been around for many years. It’s known for its multi-asset approach. However, at €1,000 per deposit, the minimum amount you need to put down in order to trade is high.
ETFinance is ideal for those who are looking to learn thanks to its big library of resources and its powerful demo account. It doesn’t yet offer MetaTrader 5 though – and US clients aren’t allowed to sign up and trade.
FXGlobe is a Cyprus-based firm that works in various locations around the world, and its spread-based pricing model means no extra fees. Its minimum deposit of €250, however, is hefty and could affect trader cash flow.
ATFX has been in business since 2014, and provides a three-figure number of financial instruments – not just the usual range of foreign exchange pairs. Trading is commission-free, though wider trading conditions are not spectacular.
Tickmill is a popular online forex broker with a relatively low minimum deposit and a demo account option for practice purposes. It doesn’t have round-the-clock customer service, however, which could spell problems for some traders.
FXPro is a well-regulated broker based in the UK that offers a vast range of platforms, including MetaTrader 5 and cTrader. It’s not able to accept customers who are based in the US onto its platform though.
TradeATF is particularly noted for its trading education arm, and forex traders who want more assets – such as crypto and indices – can find them here. There’s no compatibility, however, with the advanced platform MetaTrader 5, and only the previous version, MetaTrader 4, is available.
Australian broker FPMarkets is known for its variety of compatible platforms, including a WebTrader option as well as MetaTrader 5. Those looking for robo-trading, however, may find it a struggle to use.
Best Brokers FAQ’s
another. A good starting point is to read some forex broker reviews to ensure that you’re weeding out those that might look to scam you. Reading reviews can also help you narrow down your options. If you prioritise a particular advantage in a broker, such as low fees or compatibility with software such as MetaTrader 5, you can use reviews to discover which broker offers what.
In short, it’s certainly possible to trade forex safely – but safety isn’t guaranteed. By reading reviews and cross-comparing the different brokers on the market, you’ll be able to find dangerous ones right away and ensure that you avoid them. You should always remain vigilant for scams even further down the line. Never give your broker log-in details away to anyone, and remember to periodically check with your local regulatory body to be sure that your broker is still allowed to operate.
This depends on the broker, and your experience is likely to differ from broker to broker. A broker will almost always offer a tool that offers basic features such as price charts, as without these it is difficult to even begin forex trading. Order controls and basic risk management tools are usually included. Some brokers will go the extra mile and offer a range of tools and formats, including perhaps automatic trading tools or the latest version of MetaTrader – MT5.
Again, this depends on the trader. Sometimes, brokers will make their money by charging flat fees on trade executions. These days, many brokers are charging fees on a pre-set proportion of the ‘spread’, which is the difference between the buy and sell price. As a trader, you also need to factor in the cost of losses. Not all trades are profitable, and very few traders have gone through their professional lives without losing at least some of the time.
Some brokers restrict their offerings and do not provide for assets such as forex, CFDs or cryptos. This could be because they are specialising in forex, or perhaps because they haven’t secured the resources or regulatory approval to offer other sorts of assets. Most brokers, however, are likely to offer a range of asset classes. This could be stocks and shares, and it’s common to see forex brokers also offering contracts for difference (CFDs).
Forex brokers should always be regulated by a legitimate, government-supported and well-established regulator. Most countries have their own relevant regulator. When you find a forex broker you like the look of, you should always check to see if it is regulated – first on its own website, and then by using Google to find the website of the regulator in question and checking the register.
Yes, this is true. Not all online forex brokers offer mobile applications. However, it’s becoming increasingly normal for brokers to offer a mobile application. These days, most brokers will offer a mobile app. Usually, they will offer two apps – one for the Android operating system, and one for iOS. As a trader, mobile apps are especially useful to look out for when choosing a broker: they could make all the difference between spotting and missing a great trading opportunity.
There’s no basic list of currency pairs that all brokers must offer, but there are some currency pairs that traders are likely to find across most brokers. Pairs that include the US dollar are very common, especially ones that pair the dollar against other famous world currencies – such as the Japanese yen, the British pound and the euro. Beyond that, however, it can vary – and you may not always find the pair you want at every broker.
If you’re a new forex trader, the importance of customer service cannot be overstated. Setting up accounts and transferring cash can sometimes be complex, and there is often an identification process to go through – so speed and good service are essential. Even highly independent and experienced traders will need to access customer service from time to time, especially if they are making high-value transactions.
Yes. Legitimate forex brokers usually have to register under the auspices of the relevant regulator in each country they want to expand into. If a broker has a presence in lots of different countries, this isn’t necessarily a problem. However, it certainly is something to look into, and a trader should verify that their broker is actually registered.
It’s certainly wise to get a feeling for the behaviours of each currency and pair before writing your trading plan as each one behaves slightly differently. The Australian dollar, for example, is known for being largely linked to global trade sentiment, commodity prices and the fortunes of China. The Japanese yen, meanwhile, is a ‘safe haven’ that tends to do well during times of tumult. Learning all of this in advance before plunging into the forex trading world, then, is a good idea.
It’s not uncommon for a financial services provider such as a bank to provide foreign exchange services, though on a retail level this may be more for the non-speculative purpose of providing cash for trips abroad. Many big banks do offer forex trading services with the express intention of helping clients make a return, though they may be more likely to offer services to institutional investors or clients rather than retail ones. Retail brokers that specialise in offering speculative forex trading in particular, though, are unlikely to also offer retail banking.