Choosing a Forex Broker

Monday, July 28, 2008
Choosing a Forex broker is an important step to a success in the Forex trading. Whether you are a beginning trader looking for your first broker or an experienced trader seeking to switch brokers, you'll have to be careful in this selection. With the current abundance of the on-line Forex brokers offering dozens of services, bonuses and high quality execution, one need to look for the exact features that would fit his trading style, capital requirements and level of legal regulation. Here's the short list of things for which to look when you choose your Forex broker:
  1. Terms of Service. The first thing at which trader needs to look before joining a broker is its Terms of Service. They should be free from anything that would put trader's money in danger and should give him freedom to manage his account without any serious obstacles. Don't forget to check ToS to know if the broker forbids your trading style - e.g. scalping, news trading, etc.
  2. Trading platform. Trading via a Forex broker with some lousy platform is a real pain for any trader. Check if the broker's platform is good enough (through the demo trading) before registering a real account. MetaTrader 4 platform is offered by many Forex brokers and it's one of the best of the available platforms for the on-line trading.
  3. Regulation. If the broker claims to be from U.S. or U.K. or any other country with high level of Forex brokerage regulation then check the local authorities to see if they are really regulated. Checking offshore companies is almost useless and trading with the offshore broker has its own advantages and disadvantages as well.
  4. Spread. Spread will be your main payment to the broker for using its services. Don't overpay for anything - try to find a broker which offers low spreads. For example, trading with a Forex broker with 7 pips spread on EUR/USD currency pair is really stupid, while the average spread for this pair on other brokers is 2 pips. If you find a broker that offers spreads below average, don't forget to read its ToS to see if there are any hidden commissions in it.
  5. Payment methods. Most of the traders deposit and withdraw their trading funds via wire transfer. But there are plenty of other methods of payment that can be used to trade Forex; PayPal and WebMoney are among them. If you prefer electronic payment systems choose a Forex broker that accepts them.
  6. Minimum deposit. Trading with small amounts of money won't make you rich, but it's a good way to check your broker's real account handling before trading big, so the minimum deposit amount for the Forex broker shouldn't be too high. Some of them accept deposits only from $10,000 and higher - that's not a very good practice, since many traders would prefer trading with just hundreds of dollars before depositing such amounts.
  7. Additional services. Almost every broker offers additional services nowadays. Personally I prefer brokers that allow extra instruments for trading except Forex pairs - like metals, indexes or some CFD. For example, if you trade not very often and prefer long-term trading you'd seek a broker that pays interest on your free margin and offers good interest rate difference payments for your open positions.
Of course, this list is far from full, as there are many other parameters for which to judge the broker and they vary from trader to trader. But you can use this list as a checklist next time you are going to choose your new broker or register with an old one with which you've been trading on demo account for years.