The foreign exchange market makes up the world’s biggest 24/7 financial market with New York, Tokyo, and London serving as its main trading hubs. Traders can use an exchange regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Traderscan also choose to conduct over-the-counter trades through an off-market exchange.
If you currently trade with a stockbroker, there’s a chance that they may offer Forex trading, and then you may only need a short application to begin. If your broker does not support Forex trades, you will need to find someone who can.
With so many options available today, it isn’t always easy to pinpoint the legitimate companies from the ones to avoid, which is why we found the best Forex trading platforms.
The Best Forex Trading Plans Compared
|Bank||Forex trade cost type||Minimum deposit||Clearing Method||Maximum leverage (International)||Maximum leverage (US)|
|FOREX.com||Pips||50 units of your base currency||Market Maker||50:01:00||50:01:00|
|Ally Invest||Pips||$250||Market Maker||50:01:00||50:01:00|
|TD Ameritrade||Flats and Pips||$0||Dealing desk||None||50:01:00|
Our Top Picks for Forex Trading Platforms
- Forex.com – Best for Active Traders
- ALLY – Best for Self-Directed Trading
- IG – Best Trading Platform
- TD Ameritrade – Best for Research
The 4 Forex Trading Platforms Explained
- Low fees
- High number of currency pairs
- Fantastic research tools
- Limited services
- Cumbersome desktop software
Also popular in the U.K., Canada, and Australia, FOREX.com is a global broker serving over 4,500 markets with over 80 pairs of currency. The costs are reasonable; the minimum initial deposit is 50 units of your home currency, and there is a minimum bank transfer of $100 per transaction.
There are two accounts available, the Active Trader and the Demo. If you are a new investor, the demo accounts allow you an opportunity to familiarize yourself with forex trading before you risk your own money. In addition to Direct Market Access (DMA) and more than 100 technical indicators, there are many different trading platforms available with customizable and unique features like drawing tools and advanced analysis.
While the content is superior, the desktop platform is hard to navigate, so we recommend sticking to the mobile app when possible. Overall, FOREX.com is great for novice and active forex traders, but be forewarned that the products will be limited without the availability of traditional products like stocks and bonds.
- Excellent research and resources
- No commissions
- Trade automation
- U.S. markets only
- Requires a separate account
Ally Bank has long been a trusted and reliable financial partner, and Ally Invest is no different, with no commissions on forex trades. There is 24/5 market access, and a minimum deposit of $250 is required to open an account, but there are no account minimums after that. Users are also given a practice account with $50,000 that you can use for 30 days after you sign up for a new account to help you get your feet wet.
Easy mobility allows you to complete the account signup process entirely online, and once active, you can customize the layout to best suit your needs and preferences. It makes navigation easier so you can work more efficiently.
Trade automation is a massive bonus for traders, and the educational content is comprehensive enough to embrace newcomers to forex trading. However, to perform forex trades, you will need an account separate from other Ally products.
- Phenomenal resources
- Low fees
- Impressive spreads
- Low maximum leverage
- Limited MetaTrader instruments
IG is a publicly-traded company whose bank boasts regulation in six Tier-1 jurisdictions, making it a low-risk company for forex trading with more than 80 currency pairs and over 17,000 available trades. Spreads are competitive at 0.08 pips. There is low maximum leverage of just 50:1, a significant drop from other companies who offer up to 500:1.
Where IG shines is its platform with the integrated IG Academy. There are a plethora of educational resources to help everyone, from beginners to the most experienced investor, learn the forex market, and develop better trading strategies. Accessibility isn’t an issue, either, with high-performing mobile software for use on the go. There’s also 24/7 support to ensure that there’s always help available when you need it.
IG offers the best platform, research, and tools with low fees and commissions. However, the maximum leverage is not the industry’s highest, and while MetaTrader with MT4 is available, it is limited to just 76 trading instruments.
- Efficient trading platform
- Helpful calculator tools
- No account minimums
- Fewer currency pairs
- No international forex trades
It has the same owner as FOREX.com, GAIN Capital, and is backed by the power of its own bank. TD Ameritrade is public traded with regulations in five Tier-1 jurisdictions, but its services are limited to U.S. residents. It offers over 70 currency pairs, which is lower than other companies.
The technical indicators are too many to count with expansive charting capabilities, and the mobile trader app offers a clean interface with great accessibility. Even better, if you run into any snags, there’s 24/6 customer service available to help.
TD Ameritrade offers a fantastic trading platform called thinkorswim with easy accessibility and mobility. Trading is limited, however with forex trades available to U.S. residents with less than 80 currency pairs provided. It’s far less than other companies that offer more, and users don’t have access to MetaTrader, either.
With thousands of companies available, it can be extremely difficult to find the right company that will work best for your investment needs. Each company has its own requirements for opening and maintaining accounts, with some companies requiring a bigger upfront investment than others.
It is also important to research the currency pairs available. Our top picks provide 70 to over 80 currency pairs for your investment needs, but not all companies allow for international trading. Trading features, platforms, and research can all make an enormous difference in your investment abilities, making forex trading less intimidating for new investors and more strategic for those more experienced.
To find the best forex trading platform, we also consider and analyze thousands of reviews from sites like J.D. Power, which is a leading benchmark for customer satisfaction.We also delve into its 2019 U.S. Self-Directed Investor Satisfaction Study for updated ratings. Barron’s also publishes annual rankings, with its 2019 Best Online Brokers list setting the standard for many investors.