Best Forex Brokers for Beginners

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Trading conditions:

FXTM

FXTM is one of the best brokers for beginners for several reasons, but primarily due to the wealth of educational material available through its website. This broker has a comprehensive collection of articles and videos covering every aspect of trading and frequently host webinars which new traders are encouraged to take advantage of.

FXTM is also one of the few brokers to offer 24/7 customer support – a real benefit for new traders with day jobs who want to get their trading rig set up on the weekend.

Last, but certainly not least, FXTM offer great base trading conditions, with as little as 10 USD you can have access to very competitive spreads on major currency pairs. To round it off, MetaTrader 4 and 5 are supported with unlimited demo accounts available for both platforms.

Trading conditions:

FP Markets

FP Markets are an ASIC-regulated, STP broker with simple account options and a good range of educational material for beginner traders and excellent customer support.

The collection of educational guides on offer will be particularly helpful for new traders as they cover a lot of important but often overlooked topics, such as avoiding common trading mistakes.

Importantly for beginners, spreads are tight on the no-commission Standard Account, and the lack of dealing desk intervention for all accounts removes any concern over conflict of interest.

Trading conditions:

AvaTrade

As you would expect from one of the larger brokers, AvaTrade has a large collection of educational material to get new traders started. A dedicated section called Trading for Beginners covers basic topics and the video library is one of the best in the industry.

Beginners will also find the selection of tools and market research very useful. This includes AvaTrade's dedicated market research portal, Sharp Trader, which is frequently updated with both technical and fundamental analysis. Customer support is 24/5, as with most other brokers, and is available in 14 languages.

Overall, AvaTrade are an excellent choice for beginner traders.

Trading conditions:

XM

XM Group is renowned in the Forex industry for its customer service, educational support and its thorough understanding of financial markets.

It is a great broker for beginners with an education section split according to a trader's experience level, excellent market analysis, and frequent webinars and seminars in 18 languages. 

The Primary Education Room is open to the general public but you will need to register for an XM Account for access to the others.

Trading conditions are superb and the customer service team is available 24/5 via telephone, live chat and email.

Trading conditions:

HotForex

HotForex is an STP-only Forex broker and offers the MT4 and MT5 platform across six different account types. All six account types have competitive trading conditions.

Beginner traders at HotForex can rely on excellent support from award-winning customer service and a well-structured and informative education section. 

Webinars are run every few days and support is available 24/5 in over 27 languages from toll-free local phone numbers.

The market research and analysis section is similarly award-winning and is updated on a daily basis with market news, trade analysis and outlooks.

Trading conditions:

eToro

eToro’s social trading platform is simple, intuitive and very popular with beginner traders.  It has a unique integrated social newsfeed, similar to Twitter, and advice and trading opportunities are available in a constant stream.

Customer support is open 24/7, but there is no live chat or telephone assistance as eToro instead uses a ticketing system.  The focus at eToro is entertainment via trading.

There is not much in the way of educational material and all market analysis (market sentiment excepted) is left to the trading community. This analysis is unfiltered and it is best practice to conduct your own research into trading opportunities before acting on anything you read.

 

 

Trading conditions:

XTB

XTB is an STP broker offering both its proprietary platform, xStation, as well as MT4. 

Beginner traders will find much to like at XTB. Its Trading Academy is clear, concise, and well-structured, and one-on-one mentoring and dedicated account managers are both available. 

The majority of research and analysis is free for all visitors and a wide range of fundamental and technical analysis tools are available within the xStation platform.

Customer service is available 24/7 in 14 languages via email, live chat, and phone support. 

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All Forex Brokers in South Africa

How to Choose A Beginner Broker

Now I want to take a more detailed look at the factors we assess when we are deciding on the best brokers for beginners in 2019. The main aspects we look at are Regulation, Spreads/Commission/Fees, Customer Support, Educational Material, Demo Accounts and the Platform. There are other aspects we look at too, but we believe that these are the most important for new traders.

Regulation

The first thing you want to look for is whether and how regulated a broker is. There are multiple regulation agencies worldwide, some of them well respected and others less so. The best brokers will be regulated by at least one of the big three: The United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

There are other regulatory bodies that you will see regularly, such as the South African Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA), the Seychelles Financial Services Authority (FSA) or the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA), and, while these regulators are generally well-regarded, they are not held in such high esteem as the FCA, CySEC or ASIC.

So, if you are looking for a broker – make sure you choose one that is regulated by at least one of the big three; or if you don’t, make sure that you have a very good reason for doing so. Regulation isn’t just a marketing ploy – with good regulation comes a host of important consumer safeguards:

  • Segregated funds: Client funds are kept separate from broker funds, so in the case of broker bankruptcy all client funds are returned
  • Legal oversight: Brokers have to disclose the percentage of clients who lose money on their platform, they also have to give a clear and concise explanation of spreads, commission and other fees.
  • Lower leverage: In Europe, brokers are only allowed to offer a maximum of 50:1 leverage unless a customer can prove they are financially educated. This protects new traders from losing vast sums of money.
  • Negative balance protection: Meaning, clients can never lose more than what they have in their account. If a client’s leveraged position deteriorates rapidly their account can end up in the negative – under CySEC regulation, this loss is now automatically covered by the broker.
  • Formal complaints procedure: Well-regulated brokers will have a formal complaints procedure that is overseen by the regulator – this will include the option to escalate the complaint to the national ombudsman.

So, as you can see, making sure your broker is well-regulated should be your first step.

Spreads, Commission and Fees

Once you have decided on a few well-regulated brokers, the next thing you want to look at is the spreads or other fees/commission that your short-list of brokers will charge you.

A spread is the difference in the bid and the ask price – or the buy and the sell price – hence the catch-all name Contract for Difference (CFD) that describes this type of trading, i.e. when the asset traded is not actually being purchased or sold. The spread is how most brokers make money (but not all – we will get to that in a moment): Every time you place a trade most brokers will be taking the opposite side – they are assuming that your analysis of the market will prove incorrect and that you will either lose your position or hit your stop-loss before the asset value changes enough to cover the spread.

Spreads are measured in pips (0.01 of the base currency) and all good brokers will advertise their spreads on at least the major currency pairs. Good brokers should have very tight spreads on major currency pairs, for example, FXCM is offering a spread of 0.8 pips on the AUD/USD pair; for the same pair, AvaTrade is offering a spread of 1.8 and XTB, while it has a floating spread, has a minimum of 1.7.

So, the tighter the spread the better chance you have of taking a profit from your trade. But, as I mentioned above, not all brokers make their money from spreads. Those that do are called market makers or dealing desks – and rather than putting your trade directly to the market they ARE the market. The other type is ECN/STP (Electronic Communication Network/Straight Through Processing) brokers – these don’t take the other side of your trade, rather they post your trade directly to the market. In this case, rather than profiting from the spread, they will take a small commission on each trade. Many traders prefer this as it removes any question of bias; because the broker is not actively profiting from your loss, they are much less likely to tilt the tables. Additionally, because ECN/STPs are taking a commission on your trades their spreads are generally much tighter than market makers, it is not uncommon to find spreads as low as 0 pips at a good ECN/STP broker.

Apart from spreads and commissions, you should be aware of any other fees brokers may charge. Usually, these come in the form of deposit or withdrawal fees – especially with credit card deposits or when withdrawals or deposits are made in a different currency than the currency traded. Read the small print carefully and you will avoid nasty surprises.

Customer Support

So, we have looked at regulation and spreads, commissions and fees, now it’s time to look at customer support. Most brokers will advertise excellent customer support but there are some important things to look for. First off, you will want to check on opening hours, most good brokers will be open 24/5 (24 hours a day, Monday-Friday) though some are also open over the weekend. If you work a day job during the week, weekend support can be invaluable. You will also want to check what type of support is available – the usual options are live chat, email and telephone – so you can make sure that your preferred form of support is available. Be aware that some brokers, such as eToro, have a ticket system due to the large volume of support requests they receive.

All that said, it is difficult to tell what kind of support you will receive from just reading a website. You will want to check our reviews and cross-check with other online commenters and see what customers are saying about the service they receive.

Education

As a beginner trader, you will also be very interested in the educational materials on offer. Most brokers will offer some form of education but a select few really make an effort to educate their customers.

Better brokers will offer structured multimedia courses that start with the basics of Forex trading, continue on to terms and concepts with real-world examples and finish up with technical and fundamental analysis and the use of indicators and strategies. As a new trader, this is really what you want – most people find it easier to learn with mixed media video and reading and the more material the better.

Some brokers will also offer webinars and even real-world seminars and my advice is to consume as much as you can. With Forex trading, you can never be educated enough and there will always be something new to discover.

Demo Account

Closely linked to the point above, if you are just starting out you will want a broker that offers an unlimited demo account that mirrors their live account offering as closely as possible. What you are really looking for in a good demo account is an educational experience. In an ideal world, this would work perfectly in tandem with a structured educational course so a new trader could learn concepts and then test them on the demo account before spending any real money. Demo accounts are also a great opportunity to learn how a platform works; unless you are using MetaTrader (more on that below) every platform is slightly different and will take some getting used to. A full list of the best demo accounts is here.

Platform

Last, but certainly not least, you have to think about what platform you want to use for trading. Most brokers have their own proprietary platforms but many also support MetaTrader 4 (see here for our breakdown of the best MetaTrader 4 brokers and a look at the platform itself), MetaTrader 4 still being the industry standard despite the uptake of MetaTrader 5. A good platform should be clear and concise and allow for charting to be used simultaneously while trading. You should also be able to use third-party signals and other algorithms to refine your trading strategy.

Conclusion

Thanks for reading through this roundup of the best brokers for beginners and our thoughts on the factors that we think should apply when making this decision.

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Trading Forex and CFDs is not suitable for all investors and comes with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75-90% of retail investors lose money trading these products. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.