Brokers With Fixed Spreads
The spread is the difference between the amount a broker will pay for an asset and the price they will sell it at – the bid and ask price. In essence, the spread allows brokers to charge traders a mark-up to use their platform, and is one of the primary ways they make money from trades – particularly forex brokers.
Trading brokers may offer a floating, or variable spread, which fluctuates according to market circumstances, or a spread that remains fixed no matter what is happening in the wider market. This guide will explain how fixed spread brokers work, alongside their pros and cons. We also list the best brokers with fixed spreads in 2022.
- With fixed spread accounts, the difference between the bid and ask price will remain the same regardless of market volatility
- Fixed spread brokers are often favoured by day traders since they can lower overall costs and provide price transparency
- Beginner traders can also benefit from fixed spread accounts as it is easier to calculate costs than variable spreads
- Some brokers with fixed spreads offer very tight spreads on popular assets like major currency pairs, but traders looking to deal with exotic pairs and niche assets may want to opt for a floating spread
How Spreads Work
With a spread, brokers sell traders an asset at a higher price than they buy it for, profiting from the resulting mark-up. Brokerages may advertise themselves as ‘commission free’, in which case the chances are they make their cut of each trade through a spread.
In some cases, brokers charge both a commission and a spread, while some brokers offer a zero- or near-zero spread and make their money through commissions, as well as any other fees charged by a platform.
In general, traders looking to minimise their expenses will look for trustworthy brokers with the lowest possible commission and the tightest spreads.
The spread is a particularly central feature in forex trading. It is calculated by “Percentage in Point”, or “pips”, the lowest value that an exchange rate moves in a forex market. In most cases, the pip is the 4th decimal place – 0.0001 – though in the case of some currency pairs, such as those involving the Japanese Yen (JPY), it is calculated at the 2nd decimal place – 0.01.
So, if the GBP/USD pair has a bid price of 1.1935 and an ask price of 1.1934, then that currency pair has a spread of 1 pip.
Fixed Spread Vs Variable Spread Explained
A fixed spread is exactly as it sounds – the difference between bid and ask prices will stay the same regardless of market conditions. Variable or floating spreads, on the other hand, fluctuate with the market, widening during periods of higher volatility and tightening when volatility is low.
For example, you might find some accounts offering a 2-pip spread for the GBP/USD pair, and others offering a variable spread that ranges between 1 and 3 pips. However, during times of heightened volatility – for example, during a rush to trade after a central bank raises interest rates – the variable spread could grow much wider.
Pros & Cons Of Brokers With Fixed Spreads
The main advantage of trading with a fixed spread is that you know how much of a cut the broker is going to take each time you trade stocks, shares or indices, for example. While a pip may seem like a minuscule sum, it can add up to a significant amount in the long run and represents an additional amount of price movement necessary for each trade to be profitable.
Global brokers with fixed spreads are particularly useful for day traders, who prefer to make frequent, short-term bets, since they allow them to continue trading at periods of high volatility without incurring additional costs. They can also be a good option for novice traders, since they remove one level of complexity by negating the need to track and calculate the cost of spreads, allowing investors to focus on gaining experience in the market.
So, why would anyone choose variable spreads? Firstly, while a variable spread will often be wider than a fixed spread in a volatile market, it will often conversely be cheaper when volatility is low. This allows traders with a long-term mindset to pick the ideal time to enter a position, and they can either ride out volatility to sell once the spread tightens again or choose to take their profits or cut their losses if there is a drastic price movement.
Additionally, many traders choose variable spread accounts if they want to place a bet on potentially lucrative exotic currency pairs, which feature the currency of a developing country, such as the Great British Pound (GBP) / Turkish Lira (TRY). These tend to be much more volatile than standard FX pairs, with spreads sometimes reaching high double digits, so they are less likely to be available with a fixed spread.
Comparing Brokers With Fixed Spreads
When starting out, day traders face an abundance of choice that can seem overwhelming. It is difficult to wade through the many brokers available while getting to grips with unfamiliar terminology, and the number of platforms available makes it difficult to choose the right one. These are the drawbacks of having such a diverse marketplace, but the upside is that the added competition means tight fixed spreads and excellent deals for traders.
The first step for traders seeking the best fixed spread broker is research. A range of useful comparison and review websites are available to give you a lowdown of the most popular and least expensive fixed spread brokers. While researching these, remember to make sure you are looking at sites which deal with your local market. The same company may offer different features to users in the UK than those offered in the US, for example. Our ratings and reviews of the best brokers with fixed spreads will be tailored to the firms available in your jurisdiction.
After a glance at a few different comparison pages, you will start to become familiar with some of the big names – AvaTrade, Pepperstone, easyMarkets, and others. It won’t take long to notice that brokers offer different spreads according to each asset pair, so it’s useful to know what you want to trade before you sign up.
But remember that the ideal broker is not necessarily the one with the tightest fixed spread on the currencies you want to trade. There is a range of other factors you should investigate before committing to a broker:
- Does the broker charge a commission?
- Does the broker use MT4, MT5 or another trading platform?
- How fast are trade executions – should you expect slippage issues?
- Can you trade cryptocurrency, ETFs, and other assets using the broker?
- Does the broker provide traders with a free demo account to test strategies?
- Are there sign-up fees, inactivity fees, deposit/withdrawal fees or any other additional charges?
- How much leverage does the broker offer on CFDs, and is negative balance protection available?
Once you are familiar with all of these areas, it should be simple to narrow things down to a shortlist of fixed spread brokers.
Choosing The Broker With The Tightest Fixed Spread
Those other factors are all important, but the heart of the matter is that day traders who plan to make frequent trades will be looking for the tightest spread to maximize their profitability.
There is a wide variation in the spreads offered by even the most popular and reputable brokers and trading platforms. Some of the best-known sites offer relatively wide spreads. For example, eToro’s four-pip spread (as of August 2022) on the GBP/USD pair is more than double the lowest available spread. You can easily find a cheaper alternative, with several brokers trading this pair at a spread of two pips or less. AvaTrade offers a 1.5-pip spread, closely followed by easyMarkets’ 1.8 pips and HYCM’s 2.0 pips.
In general, at the time of writing the forex traders with the tightest fixed spreads will offer spreads of below two pips for the major currency pairs, with easyMarkets’ 0.7-pip spread on the EUR/USD pair representing the lower end of that scale.
Final Word On Brokers With Fixed Spreads
Day traders who want to gain an edge in their frequent, fast-paced trades may turn to fixed spread brokers, which remove the added expense posed by variable spreads during times of volatility. New traders may also want to consider brokers with a fixed spread while they polish their game, as it is easier to focus on making profitable trades.
Some brokers offer very tight fixed spreads on the most popular, least volatile assets and currency pairs, but traders should remember that there are many factors to take into account when choosing your broker, and not just the spread.
Use our list of the top brokers with fixed spreads to start trading today.
What Are Fixed Spread Accounts?
Brokers with fixed spreads offer traders a fixed difference between the bid and ask price regardless of the prevailing market conditions. In other words, the difference between the price the broker buys and sells an asset will stay the same.
Is A Fixed Spread Account Better Than A Variable Spread Broker?
Fixed spread brokers are popular with day traders since they allow them to make frequent trades on a daily basis without needing to pay the broker more during times of volatility. Traders with a longer-term mindset may prefer variable, or floating spreads, since they can pick and choose the ideal time to make their trades and can often benefit from a lower spread than that offered by fixed spread brokers.
How Do I Choose Brokers With Fixed Spreads?
The most important advice for any trader is to do your research. A wide range of comparison tools and review websites are available online to help you decide on the best fixed spreader broker. You will naturally want to find the brokerage which offers the best spread for your favoured assets. At the same time, you should ensure that you are aware of other costs, such as deposit and withdrawal fees, subscription fees, and any other factors that will affect your decision.
Which Fixed Spread Accounts Have The Best Spread?
Different brokers offer different spreads for each asset, so this question depends on what you want to trade. However, the most affordable fixed spread brokers in 2022 offer very tight spreads on the major currency pairs, for example, with the spread often falling below two pips and sometimes coming in at less than one pip.
Do Brokers With Fixed Spreads Offer Every Currency Pair?
The range of global and European assets available varies between online brokers and platforms. Some firms focus on the major forex pairs while other brands offer access to close to 100 currency pairings. A demo account is a good way to review the list of FX pairs available.