Best ECN Brokers

The technology behind true ECN brokers allows for faster executions and tighter spreads with higher leverage and greater transparency. Here we list the best ECN brokers in the world 2024 and also explain how ECN brokers work, their benefits and drawbacks and how to get started.

Top 5 ECN Brokers

We have reviewed almost 500 brokers and these are the 5 best ECN brokers:

#1 - Forex.com

Why We Chose Forex.com

Forex.com boasts a global reputation with multiple awards and 20+ years experience. Regulated in the US, EU, UK and Canada they provide a huge range of day trading markets, not just forex, and offer competitive fees on a cutting-edge platform. The brand also provides a suite of additional tools, from performance analytics and SMART Signals to advanced charts and strategy builders.

"Forex.com remains a best-in-class brokerage for active forex traders of all experience levels, with over 80 currency pairs, tight spreads from 0.0 pips and low commissions. The powerful charting platforms collectively offer over 100 technical indicators, as well as extensive research tools."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: Forex, Spot Metals
  • Regulator: NFA, CFTC
  • Platforms: MT4, MT5, TradingView, eSignal, AutoChartist, TradingCentral
  • Min. Deposit: $100
  • Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:50

Pros

  • Competitive cashback rebates up to 15% are available for active traders
  • The $100 minimum deposit requirement makes the broker accessible for beginners
  • You can enjoy industry-leading forex pricing starting from 0.0 pips, plus fast execution speeds of less than 1 second

Cons

  • The investment offering varies between countries
  • It's a shame that there's no copy trading platform for beginners or signal providers
  • The $15 monthly inactivity fee is higher than some competitors, including XM which only charges $5

#2 - DNA Markets

Why We Chose DNA Markets

DNA Markets is a forex and CFD broker established in 2020. The broker operates two entities in Australia and the offshore jurisdiction, St Vincent and the Grenadines. Traders can access 250+ markets, with a Standard account for beginners and a Raw account for experienced traders. The reliable MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms are available, alongside Signal Start.

"DNA Markets is an excellent choice for short-term traders familiar with the MetaTrader platforms. The smooth sign-up process also makes it easy to get started while the $100 minimum deposit is accessible. That said, DNA Markets trails the top brokers in education, research and mobile trading. "

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Indices, Commodities, Stocks, Crypto
  • Regulator: ASIC
  • Platforms: MT4, MT5
  • Min. Deposit: $100
  • Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:500

Pros

  • 24/5 customer support with response times of <2 minutes during testing
  • Convenient account funding with 7 base currencies, a $100 deposit and a wide range of payment methods
  • Top-rate platforms and charting tools for day traders with access to MT4 and MT5

Cons

  • The investment offering trails alternatives, especially in terms of stocks, cryptos and commodities
  • Although it continues to strengthen its client base and reputation DNA Markets lacks the track record of top brokers like Vantage
  • Despite access to MT4 and MT5, there is no proprietary trading app

#3 - Axofa

Why We Chose Axofa

Axofa is a forex and CFD broker registered in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The broker offers three account types with access to forex, commodities and indices. With ECN processing, low minimum deposits and no commissions, Axofa remains an attractive option, although the broker does not hold a reputable license.

"Axofa could be a good option for clients looking for social trading features alongside the MT5 platform. The low entry requirements and ECN spreads are particularly promising, but the lack of transparency and respected regulatory oversight raises security concerns."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: Forex, CFDs, Stocks, Indices, Commodities
  • Regulator: SVGFSA
  • Platforms: MT5
  • Min. Deposit: $1
  • Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:1000

Pros

  • Axofa offers the MetaTrader 5 platform which will particularly serve intermediate to experienced traders looking for advanced charting tools
  • There's a proprietary social/copy trading service for beginners looking to follow successful strategies and for experienced traders looking to sell their strategies
  • Low ECN spreads are available from 0.0 pips, plus reasonable commissions at $3.50 per side

Cons

  • There is a lack of transparency around pricing and account conditions, which significantly reduces the trust score
  • Our team found inconsistencies between international subsidiaries and website information
  • There is limited verifiable information about the broker’s owners and background

#4 - Sage FX

Why We Chose Sage FX

SageFX is an offshore, unregulated CFD broker that offers highly leveraged trading on forex, stocks, commodities, indices and crypto via the TradeLocker platform. Traders can access commission-free trading or an ECN account with tight spreads. While the broker's regulatory status is weak, it does provide segregated accounts and two-factor authentication.

"Sage FX will suit forex traders looking for high leverage and ECN spreads. The broker's prop trading service will also appeal to users looking for funded accounts with up to $200K available."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: Forex, indices, cryptos
  • Regulator: Pending
  • Platforms: TradeLocker
  • Min. Deposit: $10
  • Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:500

Pros

  • Bonus offers and trading competitions
  • High leverage up to 1:500
  • Fast withdrawal processing

Cons

  • Not regulated by any reputable body
  • Relatively narrow range of asset classes
  • Lacks educational resources and other extra features

#5 - Coinexx

Why We Chose Coinexx

Coinexx is an unregulated broker that provides leverage up to 1:500 on forex, commodities, indices and cryptocurrencies with deep liquidity, pure ECN spreads and negative balance protection. The broker uses crypto as base currencies and has low minimum deposit requirements of 0.001 BTC.

"Traders seeking highly leveraged CFDs with a broker that uses crypto as a base account currency will find a good match in Coinexx. The ECN model also offer tight spreads from 0 pips. On the downside, traders should note the weak regulatory oversight."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: Forex, Commodities, Indices, Cryptocurrencies
  • Platforms: MT4, MT5
  • Min. Deposit: 0.001 BTC
  • Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:500

Pros

  • Free VPS for active traders
  • ECN execution model with tight spreads from 0 pips
  • Full range of investments including cryptos

Cons

  • Limited educational materials for new traders
  • No regulatory oversight reduces safety
  • No copy trading service for aspiring investors

What Is An ECN Broker?

The simple definition is that Electronic Communication Network (ECN) brokers enable traders to place competing bids against each other. They are Non-Dealing Desk (NDD) brokers, meaning that instead of passing orders to market makers who take the opposing position in a trade, they connect buyers directly with sellers. When they cannot match two counter-parties, they reflect the highest bid and lowest ask price listed in the open market.

ECN forex brokers act as a major source of liquidity for retail traders versus major market makers like large banks, hedge funds and other financial institutions. They are the fastest-growing brokerages globally and are particularly popular for forex trading, offering greater transparency for investors.

ECN trading brokers

ECN Brokers Vs STP Brokers

ECN brokers are very similar to Straight Through Processing (STP) providers. STP brokers also have no dealing desk. Listed trades are routed to the broker’s group of liquidity providers, such as hedge funds, big banks and investors. These providers act as counter-parties for each trade and compete for the best bid/ask spreads. The broker effectively acts as a silent facilitator, connecting the trader with its internal liquidity pool and taking its fee from a mark-up in the spread.

The primary difference with ECN vs STP brokers is routing. Whereas the STP broker provides access to different providers in their liquidity pool, the ECN plays the role of a hub. The hub essentially acts as the primary liquidity source, formed of the different hedge funds, banks and market players. The other notable difference is position size. ECN brokers typically cap minimum position sizes at 0.1 lots. This is a result of few liquidity providers being able to cater to smaller position sizes, which can prove challenging for beginners.

Both ECN and STP models offer fast executions and tight spreads which lend them to a range of strategies, including scalping trading. In fact, many ECN, STP or hybrid brokers offer zero-pip forex spreads, though they may charge a fixed commission per lot.

Benefits Of ECN Brokers:

There are several advantages to trading with an ECN broker:

Drawbacks Of ECN Brokers

Downsides to trading with ECN brokers include:

How To Identify The Best ECN Brokers

The top true ECN brokers are regulated by reputable financial agencies. For example, if you’re trading forex in the UK, check the provider is regulated by the FCA. For traders in Europe, check for CySEC regulation. Reliable regulators will cap leverage limits to protect a trader’s risk exposure.

How to find an ECN broker

Logistically, location is significant as the best ECN brokers can only accept accounts for traders in the countries they work within. For example, RoboForex cannot accept traders in the USA, Japan, Canada and Australia, despite being a top ECN broker. This means clients from the US will need to look to another broker, such as Forex.com, another top ECN brokerage. Similarly, the best ECN brokers in Kenya, Dubai, Malaysia, Cyprus or the Philippines might differ from the top providers in Nigeria, South Africa, India, Australia and Singapore.

You should also check the trading fees and commissions and whether you are allowed to start with a demo account. This will give you time to practice and get familiar with the platform, whether you are using MetaTrader 4 (MT4), MetaTrader 5 (MT5), cTrader or another. Brokers offer different platforms so it’s important to use one you feel comfortable with.

Other considerations to take into account on your broker checklist comparison should include:

Final Word On ECN Brokers

ECN brokers bring significant benefits for forex traders in the US, UK and beyond. High levels of market transparency mean price manipulation is not possible. With that said, it’s still worth looking for regulated ECN brokers. Leverage levels, commissions, plus trading tools are also important to consider when opening a live account with an ECN broker.

FAQ

What Does An ECN Broker Mean?

An ECN broker is a technology hub, or bridge, that enables traders to place competing bids against each other or liquidity providers.

How Do ECN Brokers Make Money?

ECN brokers typically make money from fixed commissions charged to the customer on each trade. This is in contrast to market maker models that generally take their cut from the spread.

What Is The Difference Between A Market Maker And ECN Broker?

Market makers help ensure there’s enough liquidity so trades can be executed seamlessly. Market makers typically take the opposing side of a trade. In contrast, ECN brokers connect buyers and sellers, drawing on various liquidity providers. ECN brokers usually offer tighter spreads, faster order execution and increased transparency.

Who Are The Top ECN Brokers In The UK And Europe?

Among the top European ECN are Pepperstone, Axi, IG, Swissquote and FXCM. See our list of the best ECN brokers.

Is XM An ECN Broker Or STP?

XM is regulated by the FCA and offers both ECN and Straight Through Processing (STP) options. Which model you want to use will depend on your strategy, trading capital, position size and leverage requirements.