If you are looking to trade forex, you may be wondering which are the best forex brokers in the US. In this article, I have tried to get rid of the guesswork for you by performing hours of meticulous research into the best US forex brokers and the best forex trading platforms. My list consists only of brokers that offer you the highest safety regulations and are suited for traders of every level, from complete beginners to skilled traders and institutions.
Trading forex is tightly regulated by the National Futures Association (NFA) in the US. For your peace of mind, you can rest assured that all the best American forex brokers I have listed here are NFA member approved brokers.
Also consider: Guide to choosing a broker
Top online forex brokers in May 2023
See my overview list of the best forex brokers, where I give an overview for each. Read my detailed review or visit their website using the links below.
With its advanced research platform and risk analysis tools as well as technical research news, advanced charting and 20 order types, Interactive Brokers (IBKR) makes for the ideal forex trading account and is the best forex brokerage in the US.
Whilst the platform and its vast array of customizable tools may be too daunting for the novice trader, there is a wealth of educational material to support trading development including video courses, webinars and articles.
In addition to this, traders have the option to test out the platform without risking any of their own funds with Interactive Investors demo trading account.
Trading forex at Interactive Brokers can be conducted from two main platforms, the Trader Workstation (TWS) and the Client Portal platform. The Trader Workstation is an ideal platform from where professional investors can access the impressive array of features. This can all be accessed on both the web platform and the IBKR mobile app.
- Low trading fees
- Wide range of products
- Great research tools
- Complicated account opening process
- Complex desktop platform
Capital at risk.
Traders at FOREX.com have access to an outstanding number of assets including over 80 currency pairs, making this one of the most comprehensive selections available. In addition to this, the emerging sector comes with cryptocurrency including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple*.
The platform at FOREX.com is very user friendly with extensive custom charting tools and support for a variety of different order types. This coupled to its low forex fees and no withdrawal fee means that the Forex.com platform is a good choice for those wishing to take the plunge and start trading.
For forex traders looking to expand their knowledge, Forex.com offers its customers a range of educational tools including a demo account, a useful trading platform tutorial, and a range of insightful educational videos.
*The products and services available at FOREX.com will depend on your location and on which of its regulated entities holds your account
- Low forex fees
- Great variety of currency pairs
- Diverse technical research tools
- Non-user-friendly desktop platform
- Forex only
IG has managed to retain its spot as the best forex brokers in the US offering traders forex as well as a comprehensive suite of tradable assets, research tools, and educational material accessible on the trading platform.
In addition to this, IG are also competitive with their fees whilst retaining excellent levels of quality with a highly advanced and intuitive forex trading platform. Users can also rely on excellent levels of 24/7 customer service on chat, phone, email and social media.
For forex traders looking to expand their knowledge, the trading account at IG also provides access to IG’s guide for forex traders. This includes details on forex and what it entails, how to trade currencies and the benefits of trading forex.
IG are fully compliant with the relevant legislators and bodies within the US, and of course the NFA.
Charles Schwab is one of the leading broker and financial service providers in the US and it takes its commitment to its customers very seriously. And with its resources such as Schwab Live Daily provides account holders with real-time perspectives on the markets every trading day.
Charles Schwab provides on-demand trading education tools that are designed for all levels of experience. Even seasoned traders will gain insight and new perspectives thanks to trading workshops hosted by Schwab’s team of financial experts.
- Robust platform wit large choice of investment products
- $0 online stock and ETF trade commissions
- Great research tools
- Cannot trade forex using direct market access
- Limited access to cryptocurrency
Oanda is a well-known forex trading specialist, established back in 1996 the broker is considered to be one of the best on the market and their trading conditions are excellent. Opening an account is easy and fees are minimal.
On top of which Oanda has a great selection of educational materials. Unlike some competitors Oanda does not skimp on these and they do offer genuine insight and can help you in shaping a successful trading strategy.
Globally, Oanda offers two account types, standard and premium, and a product catalog that includes a wide range of spread betting offerings across a variety of asset classes. Although it should be noted that not all of the product offering is accessible to US based customers.
- Great trading platforms
- Outstanding research tools
- Fast and user-friendly account opening
- Only FX
- Limited customer support
What is forex trading?
Forex trading is the largest and most liquid financial market in the world involving the changing of one currency into another, often with the anticipation of making a profit in doing so.
The foreign exchange market, also known as the FX market or forex market, is the global market for the exchange of one currency to another. This can be conducted for commerce, trading, or tourism reasons and forex is usually traded as exchange rate pairs. An example of an exchange rate pair or currency pair would be USD/GBP which is the pair for trading the US dollar against the UK pound.
In contrast to a stock market, with forex trading, there is no central marketplace. Currency trading is conducted electronically over the counter (OTC) via computer networks among traders from across the globe. This means the market is open 24 hours a day for five and a half days a week with price changes constantly moving. This allows for speculative opportunities for trading one currency against another for professional traders and retail investors.
How to trade forex
There are two ways to trade currencies. The first is to earn the interest rate differential between two currencies. This works by buying the currency with the higher interest rate, and shorting the currency with the lower interest rate.
The other way to trade currencies is to profit from changes in the exchange rate.
These fluctuations in the price of a currency will depend on the supply and demand from banks participating in the spot market. These large trade flows prevent rogue traders from having any influence on the price of any given currency, which in turn helps to provide some transparency for investors.
What influences price changes in the FX market?
The value of any particular currency is based on supply and demand, however, there are some currencies such as the Chinese renminbi which have a fixed exchange rate. Currencies without a fixed exchange rate are known as floating currencies, and this is the case for most advanced economies, including the US dollar.
Floating currencies are constantly moving up and down in value against other currencies. These are usually small changes in movement, as small as a fraction of a cent higher or lower at the end of a trading day. However, this can change dramatically in exceptional circumstances, such as during a war, economic recession, or as we witnessed during the Covid virus. In such instances the prices can swing, one way or another, quite sharply. One such fall hit the UK pound when it lost 10% in value following its referendum vote to leave the European Union block. This saw traders selling off the pound, which hurt its demand and thus also impacted its value.
Another example of a market influencer are economic developments such as data that reveals the economy is growing faster than predicted, which in turn could lead to the Fed increasing interest rates in order to encourage saving and help cool economic growth. Higher interest rates lead to a greater return on your money and therefore increases demand, boosting its value. This is how financial markets ebb and flow in line with economic, financial and political news.
The best forex trading platforms will often include live news feeds in their suite of tools to enhance retail traders’ capacity for profit. This is also the reason why mobile trading is so important, so traders can react instantly to changes that may affect the price of currencies.
Why is FX trading so popular?
Forex trading is arguably one of the most popular forms of investment with a daily average trading volume of about $5 trillion.
The main reason for this demand among investors is that forex is one of the largest financial markets in the world with the potential for quick, large returns on your investment. This is largely due to the high volume of currencies being traded which in turn creates liquidity. However, there is a downside to this amount of liquidity, and potential investors should always be aware that with the potential for high gains, comes the potential for high losses and most platforms will report that more retail investment accounts lose money when trading forex than gain money.
However, this all comes down to strategy, and the right amount of knowledge can result in significant profit. This alongside the fact that the forex market is available for trading 24 hours a day for five and a half days of the week means individual investors can react quickly to market influencers such as political and economic factors.
These rapid movements set the bar for potential immediate gains, unlike the stocks and shares market whereby time in the market is more of an influence to your success than timing the market.
In addition to this, the forex market benefits from leveraged trading, whereby investors can open a position on a larger portion of the forex market, without risking the full investment amount usually required.
This increased exposure can lead to increased gains, without having to risk the same amount of money that would usually be needed for such a trade. However, it is important to fully understand how leverage trading works and how you can benefit from it, as this increase in profits can just as easily lead to an increase in losses.
Is FX trading legal in the US?
Yes, FX trading is legal in the US, although each platform will have its own level of regulation and this is always worth checking. On the whole, forex brokers in the US are regulated by the NFA (National Futures Authority). The National Futures Association is the self-regulatory organization for the derivatives industry, including on-exchange traded futures, retail off-exchange foreign currency and OTC derivatives within the US.
In addition to this the Commodity Futures Trade Commission (CFTC) also offers oversight and regulation of the challenging world of forex trading and is known as the “big brother” by forex traders. CFTC’s overarching mission and objective is to regulate the futures and commodities marketplace and as such forex also falls within its remit.
However, it may be the case that some forex brokers are regulated by a similar body outside of the US. These regulators will be responsible for the same level of regulation as the NFA and can include:
- The FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) in the UK
- Australian Securities and Markets Authority (ASIC) in Australia
- European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) in the European Union
- Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) in France
- Comisión Nacional de Mercado de Valores (CNMV) in Spain
- The Financial Services Agency (FSA) in Japan
- The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in Hong Kong
This level of regulation should be considered a minimum when selecting a forex trading platform in order to ensure correct levels of protection for you and your funds. This can be confirmed on the NFA’s own website where they supply a register of all forex brokers in the US who are registered members with them.
Despite these regulations, it is crucial to understand that trading FX and cryptocurrencies comes with a high degree of risk. Providers are required to publish the percentage of retail investor accounts that lose money when trading on their trading platform.
How to choose the best trading platforms for forex
Trading forex has become accessible for all levels of experience, due in large to the plethora of forex brokers and forex trading apps available. This is good news for retail investors who can take advantage of trading platforms in an increasingly competitive forex trading industry.
However, when considering any trading platform for forex trading, there are some key elements that you should take into consideration when selecting the best forex broker to use.
As mentioned previously, the gold standard for regulation within the United States for forex trading is the National Futures Association. It is always advisable to check that any of the forex trading platforms you are considering have this level of regulation. The best way to check this is via the NFA website where thanks to their easy search function you can quickly check-up and see if the broker is listed as a member.
Platform costs and trading costs can start to erode away at your gains and it is therefore important that the US forex broker you are considering is competitive in this respect. You will need to be aware of commissions and spreads.
Commissions are usually calculated as a percentage of the spread. The spread is the difference between the bid and ask price of a forex pair. If the broker does not charge a commission, then it is worth checking the spread as this is often where they will make their money.
Spreads are often depicted as a pip. A pip is the minimum unit of price change in forex. Look for a forex broker that has tight spreads.
Currency pairs offered
There are a vast number of currency pairs available, but not all US forex brokers will offer all the pairs. The most common pairs trade with the greatest liquidity and include USD/EUR, USD/GBP, JPY/USD and CHF/USD.
Check the reviews for forex trading platforms on sites such as Trustpilot to ensure the FX broker you are considering is reliable and trades can be executed with ease. Usability and layout are all important elements, as are the tools such as automated trading options, strategy builders, and alerts.
A demo account offers an opportunity to get to the grips with the platform before risking any of your own funds. Demo trading accounts will usually offer a sum of virtual money with which to trade.
Some forex trading accounts will support a low or even zero minimum deposit, however other platforms will require a large minimum deposit. Due to leverage, the buying power is far greater than the minimum deposit, and therefore you should ensure you are aware of the minimum deposit and whether that is suitable for your trading requirements. This is especially true for beginner traders who may not wish to commit to a large investment amount.
Deposit and withdrawal times
It is wise to check the deposit and withdrawal policy on any given trading platform as times and costs can vary significantly. Funding can often be done online using a credit card, ACH payment, PayPal, wire transfer, or bank cheque. Withdrawals are often done using cheque or bank transfer. Check the average withdrawal times as well as customer reviews to ensure the trading platform is operating within their published times.
FX trading takes place 24 hours a day for five and a half days a week. Therefore, many brokers will offer 24-hour customer service so you can access help when you need it. However, this is not always the case and is therefore worth checking. Also check the method of contact the forex brokers are offering. These should include phone, email, and live chat.
Forex broker FAQs
Will I be taxed on my forex trading profits?
Yes you will be taxed on your forex trading profits according to IRS Section 988. Section 988 of the Internal Revenue Code describes treatment of certain foreign currency transactions, and any gains or losses incurred by the trader due to the foreign currency is treated as ordinary income which can be as much as 37%.
What is the difference between CFDs and forex?
The difference between CFDs and forex are that forex is limited to currency trading where as CFDs trading covers a wide range of contracts across a diverse set of markets