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Best Forex Brokers for Beginners

By Jeffrey Cammack Published: Tuesday, March 5th, 2019 Updated: Friday, May 17th, 2019

Are you thinking about getting involved in trading Forex but you’re not sure where to start? At this point, the most important decision you are going to make is which broker to use. Finding the right Forex broker will make a huge difference to the quality of your trading life and should be the start of a great relationship. There are a lot of factors involved in making this decision so we have put together a short list of our favourite Forex brokers for beginner traders and some thoughts on what you should be looking for.

The top brokers below have earned this place in the list because of their commitment to beginner traders.

Top Forex Brokers for Beginners


FXTM

FXTM

Visit FXTM or Read Full FXTM Review

FXTM is regulated by the FCA, CySEC and the FSCA in South Africa and the educational material offered is first-class. By keeping the focus on beginners looking for reasonable trading conditions, the FXTM team of educators and analysts have succeeded in creating a welcoming environment for new traders. Additionally, FXTM are one of the few brokers with 24/7 support, allowing new traders to get set up on weekends or holidays.

For the absolute beginner, FXTM has a great deal of training material to help new traders get started. Materials include articles, videos, webinars and a searchable glossary of new vocabulary. This is an excellent resource and many hours can be spent covering the basics of Forex Trading. There is an additional set of videos that cover analysis topics, and more detail on chart reading techniques.

FXTM has an open “Daily Market Analysis” section on their website where research analysts post bulletins that connect daily news items with analysis and actionable trading ideas. This can be combined with other sources to achieve a more comprehensive view of global events and the trading opportunities they represent.

The Standard Account has a minimum deposit of 100 USD and spreads start at 1.3 pips. FXTM also offers a Cent Account where the minimum deposit if only 10 USD but the spreads will be wider. If you can afford it, I would recommend starting with the Standard Account.

Visit FXTM or Read Full FXTM Review


Markets South Africa

Markets South Africa

Visit Markets or Read Full Markets South Africa Review

Markets.com is been regulated by CySEC, ASIC, and the FSCA and has won numerous industry awards for its customer service and trading platform.

Markets.com offers both video tutorials and trading webinars for its clients. The webinars are conducted by professional traders and market experts and cover everything from the basics of Forex trading to managing trading risk and applying winning strategies.

Markets.com’s also offers a wide range of trading tools that will come in very useful for new traders. These include tools that track trends both from the asset perspective and what other traders are doing.

Markets.com’s support team can be reached via email and live chat, 24 hours a day, five days a week. Although the Markets.com website is available in 15 different languages, customer support is only available in Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish.

The Markets.com standard live account has a low minimum deposit of USD 100 with a very generous bonus scheme, additionally, Markets.com offer an unlimited demo account so you can practice trading for as long as you want. The Markets.com demo trading account accurately simulates real account trading conditions and gives you USD 10,000 to practice with.

Visit Markets or Read Full Markets South Africa Review


FXCM

FXCM Broker Logo

Visit FXCM or Read Full FXCM Review

FXCM has been a global FX and CFD broker since 1999 and are regulated by the FCA, ASIC, and the FSCA in South Africa.

One of the major advantages of FXCM for beginner traders is the quality of the educational material they offer. FXCM offers eBooks on Forex basics, trading strategies, trading habits, the FXCM’s proprietary Trading Station platform, and how to identify potential trading opportunities on the market. FXCM’s extensive video library is organised into different categories that span from more broker-focused topics like how to make deposits on the platform, to more advanced trading topics like order types that help traders manage risk in trades.

As with many other brokers, FXCM ZA uses webinars to teach Forex trading – these are exclusive webinars for South Africans and hosted by Russell Shor, the Senior Analyst for FXCM’s South African team. Having a dedicated education section for South Africans is extremely rare and is one of the greatest advantages to using FXCM ZA. Moreover, FXCM ZA runs free workshops in Pretoria and Johannesburg on a monthly basis.

FXCM has a standard demo account and a single live account offering. The demo account has 5000 USD virtual money and expires after 30 days of inactivity. The standard account is commission free with a minimum deposit of 50 USD

Visit FXCM or Read Full FXCM Review

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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 in a new broker is whether and how it is regulated. 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 is 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 financial educated. This protects new traders from losing vast sums of the broker’s money.
  • Negative balance protection: Meaning, clients can never lose more than what they have on deposit with the broker. 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 the first step in choosing your broker.

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 maker brokers or dealing desk brokers – and rather than putting your trade directly to the market they ARE the market. The other type of broker is ECN/STP (Electronic Communication Network/Straight Through Processing) brokers – these brokers don’t take the other side of your trade, rather they post your trade directly to the market. In this case, the broker, rather than profiting from the spread, will take a small commission on each trade. Many traders prefer this as it removes any question of bias from the broker; because the broker is not actively profiting from your loss, they are much less likely to tilt the tables. Additionally, because ECN/STP brokers are taking commission on your trades their spreads are generally much tighter than market maker brokers, 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 try and 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 brokers website. You will want to check our reviews and cross-check with other online commenters and see what a broker’s customers are saying about the service they receive.

Education

As a beginner trader you will also be very interested in what educational materials a broker will offer you. 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 broker’s platform works; unless you are using MetaTrader (more on that below) every broker’s platform is slightly different and will take some getting used to.

Platform

Last, but certainly not least, you have to ask 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.

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.