Forex & Stock Broker Comparison, Reviews & Bonus


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    How to find the right broker?

    So, you are new to trading and looking for your first online forex broker. Looking at the large selection above, you may wonder: ‘which one to choose?’ Or maybe ‘is it better to choose more than one?’ To help you narrow down your choice we have collected and answered most common questions we get asked by traders who are looking for a broker.

    There are many online forex brokers offering lots of bonuses, promotions and all kinds of extras. But choosing the right broker is not easy, not only for a new trader, but also for an experienced one. However, there are some key points, like regulation and financial health of the broker, which can tell you a lot about the reliability of the company and its competence. These indicators can be measured by the certain objective criteria which we explain below.

    However, choosing a forex broker is often a personal decision and it all comes down to identifying what are the most important criteria for you. By taking the time to explore and identify your situation, goals, and your trading style, you’ll be able to determine which broker or brokers could be the best match.

    Here are some of the questions you need to ask when choosing a broker:

    1. Is the broker regulated? If yes, then in which country?
    2. What trading platform does the broker offer?
    3. Types of brokers: Dealing desk (market maker) vs. STP, ECN, DMA
    4. What kind of support is available?
    5. How much do you pay in spreads and fees?
    6. Which account type to choose?
    7. Does the broker offer any bonuses or additional tools & services?

    Is the broker regulated? If yes, then in which country?

    Every country has different requirements to register and license financial service providers, like online forex brokers. These regulations determine how the broker can conduct their business, how much capital they need to operate and, also, how, if at all, they are required to protect clients’ capital. Being a trader or investor you should make sure you choose a regulated forex broker.

    Below are the countries/territories with the most stringent requirements to operate as a forex broker. Forex brokers in these countries need to meet the highest standards, hence, they offer the greatest protection to your capital:

    • USA (SEC, NFA)
    • United Kingdom (FCA)
    • Japan (FSA)
    • Australia (ASIC)
    • Switzerland (FINMA)

    It is crucial that traders do their research on where and how their prospective broker is regulated. To make it easier for you, we have displayed this important bit of information in our broker table above and on each individual broker page.

    Some brokers have different entities some of which could be registered in countries with relatively lower standards of regulation. In cases like this you are advised to open an account with the entity that is regulated in one of the listed countries/territories.
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    What trading platform does the broker offer?

    Generally, the right trading platform depends on your particular needs, as a trader. For example, you may want to have the platform installed on your main computer or if you use more than one computer, you may prefer a web based platform, accessible from any computer with an internet connection. If you are out and about most of the times, a broker with an advanced smartphone or tablet trading app may be the best fit for your busy lifestyle. From this alone, you can see that exploring what trading platform a broker offers is an important task before opening an account.

    Apart from accessibility, you must ensure that your trading platform is reliable and you won’t face frequent disconnects or delays in execution (latency), especially, if you plan on trading the news.

    Many new traders judge a trading platform by its look and design. However, its reliability and functionality are really the only important factors when evaluating a platform.

    If you are a scalper and make dozens of trades per day, then you definitely need a highly reliable, stable platform with minimum latency. But if you are a long term investor style trader, then stability, latency is not a make or break for your success and finding the fastest platform is less of a priority.

    In forex trading you want your trades to be executed and your orders placed immediately with no or minimum delay. Trading with one-click, quick order entry, trailing stop losses and limit orders are also very useful for a trader, so you want to have them in your platform.

    Finally, it is worth finding out how and to what extent can you customize your trading platform. The ability to customize colors, chart size etc is the minimum, but advanced short term traders might want to be able to add custom indicators, EAs, display range bars, custom time frames, such as '333 tick' charts, whereas long term traders would likely want to get access to an in-depth stock and sector analytics, built-in stock scanner and logarithmic charts.

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    Types of brokers: Dealing desk (market maker) vs. STP, ECN, DMA

    You need to understand the difference between a broker (a true middle man) and a market maker or dealing desk.

    Trading with a broker

    Broker is the middleman between you, the client and liquidity providers. All orders are executed or forwarded without any interference from a dealing desk, this is why this model is called No Dealing Desk (NDD). To execute orders, brokers send them to a liquidity providers using Straight Through Processing (STP) or Electronic Communications Network (ECN) technology.

    In the NDD or STP environment the broker earns money when traders pay the bid-ask spread or a fee/commission for the execution of their orders and there is no conflict of interest between the broker and the client.

    The spreads and fees depend on a number of things: broker type, number of liquidity providers and this is something you need to invest some time in exploring, when comparing brokers. You can find more information about spreads on the broker table above or on the respective broker information pages under the 'Spreads' tab.

    Trading with a dealing desk

    When you trade with a dealing desk (DD), your orders are filled within the broker. Their job is to make the market for their clients and fill every order, even if there is no buyer or seller, hence their other name: market maker (MM). The dealing desk or market maker is not a middleman, it is often the counterparty in your trades. A dealing desk or market maker broker earns money when you pay spreads, fees, swaps or when you lose on a trade.

    Do dealing desks, market makers trade against me?

    This is where regulation and reputation plays a vital role. If the broker is regulated in one of the above mentioned jurisdictions, then you can rest assured, the broker won’t trade against you.

    Generally, the success of a regulated dealing desk depends on their risk management and their ability to manage their exposure. They do not always act as a counterparty in each and every trade. Often, they match clients’ orders, that is, they bring two clients together: one buying, the other selling the EURUSD, and in case most of their clients want to position themselves long the EUR/USD without any further sellers left among their clientele, the broker may step in as a seller (become a counterparty) to supply more EUR/USD and, at the same time, buy EUR/USD on the intermarket to protect themselves (a technique known as hedging).

    Typically, the benefits of trading with a regulated dealing desk or market maker are as follows:

    • Fast execution of your orders
    • Wide selection of available assets
    • Enough liquidity for your trades
    • Low requirements for a minimum deposit (it can start as low as $1)
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    What kind of support is available?

    Customer support is the team to turn to, should you have any questions about software, payments, bonuses etc. This is why it is important to find a broker who has a friendly, fast customer support service who, ideally, also speaks your language. Otherwise, there is a chance of miscommunication and the you won’t get the help you need to solve your problem.

    Since there are quite a lot of online forex brokers on the market, you will definitely find one who speaks your language.

    Also you may want to ensure that communication channels offered by the support team match your preferences. Generally, brokers offer support by online chat, email, skype, phone or even through an integrated solution in the trading platform.

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    How much do you pay in spreads and fees?

    Typically, there are four types of charges a broker can apply to your trading:

    1. Fixed spreads
    2. Variable spreads
    3. Commission or fee
    4. Swap or rollover

    Spread is the difference between the bid and the ask price, the price you sell or buy an instrument for.

    Fixed spreads

    Trading with fixed spreads means that you always pay the same spread for a certain instrument, regardless of the time of the day, news event or varying liquidity conditions. On one hand, you may think that fixed spreads are a best choice, because you always know what to expect and how much each and every trade is going to cost you. On the other hand, fixed spreads are usually higher than variable spreads during the main trading sessions. Generally, fixed spreads are offered by dealing desk brokers.

    Variable spreads

    Variable spreads are more representative of real market conditions, and you have the chance to trade cheaply during main trading times. But remember, during high volatility events, quiet sessions, or close to the weekend, variable spreads can become unusually wide.

    Some brokers offer you to trade with zero spreads, this means that you will pay a fixed fee as per your trading volume.


    Many professional accounts offer super tight spreads, however, they charge commissions based on traded volume. Although, when trading on a pro account, you pay an extra charge for opening and closing a position, your overall costs tends to be less when you compare them to standrad accounts with fixed or variable spreads.

    For example, let’s take a broker on his standard account who offers 1.9 pips spread on the EURUSD, and 0.2 pips for the same currency pair on his pro accounts, but charges $10 commission for opening and closing 1 lot (round turn) worth of position. To calculate trading costs we take the pip value per lot, multiply it by the spread and we add the commissions:

    For standard accounts, trading 1 lot of EURUSD would cost a trader:

    $10 x 1.9 + $0 = $19

    The same trade on a pro account would be:

    $10 x 0.2 + $10 = $12

    This example shows that pro accounts with tight spreads could be a cheaper way of trading the markets than standard accounts advertising commission free trading.

    The downside to pro accounts is that the minimum deposit requirements are significantly higher than on standard accounts, and some brokers don’t allow trading small volumes, like micro lots on professional accounts.


    Currencies have their overnight rate attached to them which is based on the overnight interest rate set by their central banks. For example, if the Bank of England (GBP) had their rates at 4% and the Federal Reserve (USD) at 5%, then the trader would pay for buying and holding GBPUSD for an entire year 1% in interest (=1%/365=0.0027% per day) plus broker charges on their traded volume. Conversely, if the trader were to sell the GBPUSD, then they would receive the same amount (less broker charges) in interest payments.

    Swap charges or credits are either defined in percentages of the traded volume or pips by the brokers. Always check with your broker how much would you receive or pay in swaps for holding positions overnight as swap or rollover charges can have a significant impact on your trading results if you often hold positions for longer periods of times.

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    Which account type to choose?

    Most brokers offer different account types (micro account, mini account, standard account, professional account). Generally, the more money you are ready to deposit, the more advantageous accounts you can choose. When you go for a more prestigious, higher end account, you get more benefits – and this can include lower spreads, bigger bonuses or premium services, professional trading tools.

    When you know how much money you want to start with, simply compare what additional benefits brokers and account types can offer you.

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    Does the broker offer any bonuses or additional tools & services?

    When you have found several well regulated brokers with reliable trading platforms, tight spreads, a customer support speaking your language, you may want to look for some extra benefits, like analytical support, financial news feed or daily trade ideas, trade signals. However, you should only consider these extras if the broker meets all other criteria that are important for you.

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