Your trading platform is your portal into the exciting world of forex trading. It’s an essential tool for you as a trader, and you should learn to master it and feel comfortable using it. Most importantly, the platform should meet these minimum requirements:
1. Be user-friendly
2. Offer an intuitive user experience
3. Be powerful enough even for advanced traders
4. Include an FAQ section
5. Contain detailed terms and conditions
6. Offer demo account functionality
7. Be robust and reliable
8. Be cloud-based so you can access it from anywhere without downloading anything
9. Offer easy access to customer support
10. Include good charting options for technical analysis
Potential special offers is another area that is worth looking into before you decide on a forex broker to trade with. For example, some brokers offer huge sign-up bonuses that new users can take advantage of, while others may offer better terms for your trading account.
Here is an overview of the main types of bonuses you should look out for when choosing a forex broker:
1. Cash bonuses. Perhaps the most interesting type of bonus offer around. It works by brokers giving new traders free cash to trade with in their trading account just for signing up with them.
2. Lower commissions. This is another interesting form of a special offer sometimes given as a “thank you” for a new sign-up. It usually lasts only for a specified period of time, usually ranging from a few weeks to 2-3 months.
3. Tighter spreads. Some forex brokers offer their best clients tighter spreads on the most popular currency pairs like the EUR/USD and USD/JPY. This will be a significant benefit for you in the long run since the spread is an expense in trading that cannot otherwise be avoided.
4. Free forex trading coaching. Especially important for new traders, coaching by experienced forex traders can dramatically improve your learning curve.
5. Dedicated account manager. Perhaps not among the top bonuses, but it is nonetheless always nice to have someone to hit up if you need anything from your broker.
6. Free access to exclusive forex market analyses. Another great benefit that could be an advantage for you in your day-to-day trading.
7. Reduced prices for partner services. This could be a valuable bonus depending on what type of services it includes. Here we might find services such as live audio news feeds, financial news alerts, trading signals, etc.
8. Free withdrawals and deposits. Many brokers charge a fee for both deposits and withdrawals of funds. Having this fee waived would therefore be welcomed by most traders.
9. Account upgrade. Many forex brokers operate with different account types depending on the size of your initial deposit or how frequently you trade. A “Gold” account type would for example always include more benefits for the trader than a “Bronze” account.
10. Invitations to exclusive events. If you live in a big city, preferably in the same country as the broker is based, you may get the chance to attend some of the events organized or sponsored by your broker. This is a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and discuss common challenges.
Financial markets can be highly volatile with small margins for error when you enter your buy or sell orders in the market. Decision-making should happen fast, and you need to be confident that your broker will execute your order quickly and without any technical glitches.
Still, sometimes shit happens and you have no choice but to contact customer support. In these cases, it is critical that you can reach customer support quickly to solve your problem. When evaluating a forex broker’s customer service, consider these questions:
1. Is the support staff helpful and friendly?
2. Is the support staff acting as “undercover salespeople,” or are they genuinely trying to help their clients?
3. Does the support staff understand trading, trading terminology, and the challenges traders face?
4. Are they available 24 hours a day?
5. Is support open 5 days a week, or a full 7 days a week?
6. What languages is support offered in?
7. Do they have a dedicated support phone number for your country?
8. How many channels are available for contacting customer support?
9. What are other people online saying about the broker’s customer support?
10. Try sending a support email to find out if they reply satisfactorily
A large selection of trading assets is a must. Serious traders follow strict criteria for when they enter into trades, and sometimes it is necessary to scan lots of markets before you find a promising trading setup.
In addition, some people limit the number of currency pairs they trade to the most popular ones due to the tighter spreads and higher liquidity they offer. These currency pairs usually include:
Others, however, like to add commodity CFDs to the mix as well, with popular options being:
Forex Broker Regulation
Last but not least comes the broker’s regulatory environment. This is also a very important factor to consider when choosing an online forex broker. A broker based in a stable and well-known jurisdiction always offers some extra peace of mind for the trader, and it can also save you if you ever find yourself in any kind of dispute with your broker.
Make sure to consider the following issues regarding a broker’s regulation before making your choice on which forex broker to trade with:
1. Is the broker regulated at all? Perhaps surprising to some, the reality is that some brokers are not regulated by anyone!
2. In what jurisdiction is the broker regulated? In many cases, a broker can be regulated in several different jurisdictions at the same time.
3. Look up the broker on the website of the regulatory authority to confirm that they are indeed regulated.
4. Consider the regulatory requirements of the jurisdictions where the broker is regulated. Is it a solid jurisdiction?
5. Does the said jurisdiction have a reputable and fair legal system?
6. What are the capital reserve requirements your forex broker is subject to?
7. Does the broker have a ‘segregated accounts’ policy, meaning that client’s funds are kept segregated from the broker’s own funds?
8. Does the broker have a clean regulatory record, or have they been the subject of investigations in the past?
9. Does the broker maintain fair dealing practices that ensures your trades are executed at the prevailing prices?
10. Are the broker’s interests aligned with the client’s interest? It’s important to note that some forex brokers take the opposite side of a client’s trades, which is the opposite of having aligned interests.
Remember that proper regulation also ensures that the broker is adequately capitalized, that client funds are kept segregated from company funds, and that ethical practices are followed in the way the broker execute orders in the forex market.
Base your selection of a forex broker on their asset basket. Some limit the number of currency pair they trade to the most popular ( EUR/USD, AUD/USD, USD/CAD, GBP/USD, USDCHF) while others include commodities as well ( gold, silver, oil, etc.) Reputable forex brokers diversify their asset offerings to give traders greater choice.
Regulation is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a forex broker. Proper regulation helps ensure that your forex broker is adequately capitalized in the event of trading losses, keeps your funds in secure and segregated accounts, and maintains fair dealing practices to so that your trades will be executed at the prevailing market prices. We strongly advise that you select a regulated broker with a clean regulatory record to benefit from these protections.