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 10 ECN Brokers

We have reviewed almost 500 brokers and these are the 10 best ECN brokers:

Click a broker for details
  1. 1
    Exness

    Ratings
    4.5 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    4.2 / 5
    4.8 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    4.5 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    3 / 5
    4.4 / 5
    4.3 / 5

    $10
    0.01 Lots
    1:2000
    FSA, CySEC, FCA, FSCA, FSC, CBCS
    CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Crypto
    Exness Trade App, MT4, MT5, TradingCentral
    Wire Transfer, Credit Card, Visa, Mastercard, Bitcoin Payments, Boleto
    USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, NZD, INR, JPY, ZAR, MYR, IDR, DKK, CHF, HKD, SGD, AED, SAR, HUF, BRL, NGN, THB, VND, UAH, KWD, QAR
  2. 2
    Pepperstone
    CFDs and FX are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs.

    Ratings
    4.6 / 5
    4 / 5
    3.8 / 5
    4.4 / 5
    4.4 / 5
    4.6 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    4 / 5
    4.4 / 5
    4.1 / 5

    $0
    0.01 Lots
    1:30 (Retail), 1:500 (Pro)
    FCA, ASIC, CySEC, DFSA, CMA, BaFin, SCB
    CFDs, Forex, Currency Indices, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Crypto, Spread Betting
    MT4, MT5, cTrader, TradingView, AutoChartist, DupliTrade
    Visa, Mastercard, Credit Card, Debit Card, PayPal, Wire Transfer, POLi, UnionPay, BPAY, Neteller, Skrill
    USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, NZD, JPY, CHF, HKD, SGD
  3. 3
    IC Markets

    Ratings
    4.6 / 5
    4 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    4.6 / 5
    4 / 5
    4.5 / 5
    4 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    3.1 / 5
    4.2 / 5

    $200
    0.01 Lots
    1:30 (ASIC & CySEC), 1:500 (FSA), 1:1000 (Global)
    ASIC, CySEC, FSA, CMA
    CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Bonds, Futures, Crypto
    MT4, MT5, cTrader, TradingView, TradingCentral, DupliTrade
    PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, Visa, UnionPay, Wire Transfer, Rapid Transfer, Mastercard, POLi, BPAY, Credit Card, Klarna, Swift, SafeCharge
    USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, NZD, JPY, CHF, HKD, SGD
  4. 4
    Eightcap

    Ratings
    4.3 / 5
    4 / 5
    3.6 / 5
    3.8 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    4 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    3 / 5
    4.8 / 5
    4.4 / 5

    $100
    0.01 Lots
    ASIC, FCA, CySEC, SCB
    CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities
    MT4, MT5, TradingView
    Neteller, Skrill, Visa, UnionPay, Credit Card, Debit Card, Bitcoin Payments, Wire Transfer, FasaPay, BPAY, PayPal, Dragonpay, PIX Payment
    USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, NZD, SGD
  5. 5
    LiteForex Europe

    Ratings
    4 / 5
    3.3 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    3.3 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    3 / 5
    3.4 / 5
    4.1 / 5

    $50
    0.01 Lots
    1:30
    CySEC
    CFDs, Forex, Indices, Commodities
    MT4, MT5
    Neteller, Skrill, Visa, QIWI, Mastercard, Perfect Money, Western Union, Credit Card
    USD, EUR, GBP, CHF
  6. 6
    DNA Markets

    Ratings
    3 / 5
    4 / 5
    4 / 5
    3.9 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    3.6 / 5
    1.8 / 5
    1.6 / 5
    4.8 / 5
    4.4 / 5

    $100
    0.01 Lots
    ASIC
    CFDs, Forex, Indices, Commodities, Stocks, Crypto
    MT4, MT5
    Credit Card, Debit Card, Wire Transfer, BPAY, Skrill, Neteller, Bitcoin Payments, Bitwallet, AstroPay, Mastercard
    USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, NZD, SGD
  7. 7
    FOREX.com

    Ratings
    4.9 / 5
    4 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    4.6 / 5
    4.6 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    4.8 / 5
    4.5 / 5
    3.6 / 5
    3.8 / 5

    $100
    0.01 Lots
    1:400
    NFA, CFTC, CIRO, FCA, CYSEC, ASIC, SFC, FSA, MAS, CIMA
    CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Cryptos, Futures, Options, Commodities
    MT4, MT5, TradingView, eSignal, AutoChartist, TradingCentral
    Wire Transfer, Credit Card, Debit Card, Visa, Mastercard, Skrill, Neteller, ACH Transfer
    USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, JPY, CHF, PLN
  8. 8
    IC Trading

    Ratings
    2.8 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    3 / 5
    4 / 5
    4 / 5
    2.8 / 5
    3 / 5
    2.2 / 5
    4.8 / 5
    4.6 / 5

    $200
    0.01 Lots
    1:500
    FSC
    CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Bonds, Cryptos, Futures
    MT4, MT5, cTrader, AutoChartist, TradingCentral
    PayPal, Neteller, Mastercard, Visa, Wire Transfer, Debit Card, Credit Card
    USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, NZD, JPY, CHF, HKD, SGD
  9. 9
    RoboForex
    RoboForex Ltd and its affiliates do not target EU/EEA/UK clients. Please be aware that you are able to receive investment services from a third-country firm at your own exclusive initiative only, taking all the risks involved.

    Ratings
    3 / 5
    4 / 5
    4 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    4.1 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    3.8 / 5
    3.8 / 5
    4.7 / 5
    4.4 / 5

    $10
    0.01 Lots
    1:2000
    IFSC
    CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Futures
    R StocksTrader, MT4, MT5, TradingView
    Visa, iDeal, Trustly, Neteller, Skrill, Giropay, Sofort, Wire Transfer, Rapid Transfer, Alipay, POLi, Perfect Money, MoneyGram, Cashu, SafeCharge, WeChat Pay, Vietcombank Transfer, Volet, ecoPayz, AstroPay
    USD, EUR
  10. 10
    InstaForex

    Ratings
    4 / 5
    3.9 / 5
    4.2 / 5
    4 / 5
    3.9 / 5
    3.7 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    3.6 / 5
    3.6 / 5
    3.6 / 5

    CFDs, Forex, Stocks, ETFs, Cryptos, Futures, Commodities
    MT4, MT5
    Skrill, Mastercard, Visa, Neteller, Wire Transfer, Przelewy24, Giropay, Rapid Transfer
    USD, EUR, GBP, PLN, CZK

Here is a short summary of why we think each broker belongs in this top list:

  1. Exness - Exness is a Cyprus-based forex and CFD brokerage established in 2008. With over 800,000 clients, several awards and reputable licensing, the broker has maintained its position as a highly respected global brand. Active day traders can access the popular MT4 and MT5 platforms, raw spreads and multiple account types.
  2. Pepperstone - Established in Australia in 2010, Pepperstone is a top-rated forex and CFD broker with over 400,000 clients worldwide. It offers access to 1,300+ instruments on leading platforms MT4, MT5, cTrader and TradingView, maintaining low, transparent fees. Pepperstone is also regulated by trusted authorities like the FCA, ASIC, and CySEC, ensuring a secure environment for day traders at all levels.
  3. IC Markets - IC Markets is a globally recognized forex and CFD broker known for its excellent pricing, comprehensive range of trading instruments, and premium trading technology. Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Australia, the brokerage is regulated by the ASIC, CySEC and FSA, and has attracted more than 180,000 clients from over 200 countries.
  4. Eightcap -
  5. LiteForex Europe - LiteForex Europe is a CFD broker established in 2008 and authorized by the CySEC. The brokerage offers forex, commodities and indices via the MT4 and MT5 platforms. Spreads are ultra tight on ECN accounts and leverage is available up to 1:30 in line with EU regulations. LiteForex also offers a rich education centre for new day traders and social trading capabilities.
  6. 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 800+ 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.
  7. FOREX.com - Founded in 1999, FOREX.com is now part of StoneX, a financial services organization serving over one million customers worldwide. Regulated in the US, UK, EU, Australia and beyond, the broker offers thousands of markets, not just forex, and provides excellent pricing on cutting-edge platforms.
  8. IC Trading - IC Trading is part of the established IC Markets group. Built for serious traders, it boasts some of the most competitive spreads, reliable order execution, and advanced trading tools. The catch is that it’s registered in the offshore financial centre of Mauritius, enabling it to offer high leverage but in a weakly regulated trading setting.
  9. RoboForex - RoboForex is an online broker, established in 2009 and registered with the IFSC in Belize. Traders can choose from five accounts (Prime, ECN, R StocksTrader, ProCent, Pro) catering to different needs with trades from 0.01 lots and spreads from 0 pips. RoboForex has also enhanced its offering over the years, adding CFD instruments and launching its stock trading platform, plus the CopyFX system.
  10. InstaForex - InstaForex is a forex and CFD broker founded in . The broker offers diverse market coverage to millions of clients, spanning traditional assets like currencies and shares, as well as other interesting opportunities such as IPOs.

Exness

"Exness remains an accessible broker for all experience levels, though experienced day traders will particularly appreciate the ultra-low commission rates, fast withdrawals and high-quality charting software."

- DayTrading Review Team

Exness Quick Facts

Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsCFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Crypto
RegulatorFSA, CySEC, FCA, FSCA, FSC, CBCS
PlatformsExness Trade App, MT4, MT5, TradingCentral
Minimum Deposit$10
Minimum Trade0.01 Lots
Leverage1:2000
Account CurrenciesUSD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, NZD, INR, JPY, ZAR, MYR, IDR, DKK, CHF, HKD, SGD, AED, SAR, HUF, BRL, NGN, THB, VND, UAH, KWD, QAR

Pros

  • Highly competitive spreads, reduced for USOIL and BTCUSD in 2024, are available from 0 pips and low commissions from $2 per side
  • The broker is accessible for beginners with low minimum deposits from $10 and flexible payment methods
  • Top-tier licensing with the FCA and CySEC and a strong reputation with over 10 years in business

Cons

  • There are several regional restrictions for retail traders including the USA, Europe and the UK
  • Unlike most competitors, Exness doesn't provide its own education section
  • There are no promotional deals or loyalty schemes for high-volume day traders

Pepperstone

"Pepperstone stands out as a top choice for day trading, offering razor-sharp spreads, ultra-fast execution, and advanced charting platforms for experienced traders. New traders are also welcomed with no minimum deposit, extensive educational resources, and exceptional 24/7 support."

Christian Harris, Reviewer

Pepperstone Quick Facts

Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsCFDs, Forex, Currency Indices, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Crypto, Spread Betting
RegulatorFCA, ASIC, CySEC, DFSA, CMA, BaFin, SCB
PlatformsMT4, MT5, cTrader, TradingView, AutoChartist, DupliTrade
Minimum Deposit$0
Minimum Trade0.01 Lots
Leverage1:30 (Retail), 1:500 (Pro)
Account CurrenciesUSD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, NZD, JPY, CHF, HKD, SGD

Pros

  • Award-winning customer support is available via telephone, email or live chat with response times of <5 minutes during testing.
  • Pepperstone boasts impressive execution speeds, averaging around 30ms, facilitating fast order processing and execution that’s ideal for day trading.
  • Now offering spread betting through TradingView, Pepperstone provides a seamless, tax-efficient trading experience with advanced analysis tools.

Cons

  • There’s no simplified proprietary trading platform, nor are there any social trading features, which could be a disadvantage if you are new to day trading.
  • Pepperstone’s demo accounts are active for only 30 days, which may not be not long enough to familiarize yourself with the different platforms and test trading strategies.
  • Despite enhancements to its range of markets, crypto offerings are relatively limited compared to other brokers such as eToro, with no option to invest in real coins.

IC Markets

"IC Markets offers superior pricing, exceptionally fast execution and seamless deposits. The introduction of advanced charting platforms, notably TradingView, and the Raw Trader Plus account, ensures it remains a top choice for intermediate to advanced day traders."

Christian Harris, Reviewer

IC Markets Quick Facts

Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsCFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Bonds, Futures, Crypto
RegulatorASIC, CySEC, FSA, CMA
PlatformsMT4, MT5, cTrader, TradingView, TradingCentral, DupliTrade
Minimum Deposit$200
Minimum Trade0.01 Lots
Leverage1:30 (ASIC & CySEC), 1:500 (FSA), 1:1000 (Global)
Account CurrenciesUSD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, NZD, JPY, CHF, HKD, SGD

Pros

  • IC Markets offers fast and dependable 24/5 support based on firsthand experience, particularly when it comes to accounts and funding issues.
  • You have access to over 2,250 CFDs across various markets, including forex, commodities, indices, stocks, bonds, and cryptocurrencies, allowing for diversified trading strategies.
  • IC Markets offers among the tightest spreads in the industry, with 0.0-pip spreads on major currency pairs, making it especially cost-effective for day traders.

Cons

  • Despite four industry-leading third-party platforms, there is no proprietary software or trading app built with new traders in mind.
  • While IC Markets offers a selection of metals and cryptos for trading via CFDs, the range is not as extensive as brokers like eToro, limiting opportunities for traders interested in these asset classes.
  • There are fees for certain withdrawal methods, including a $20 wire charge, which can eat into profits, especially for frequent withdrawals.

Eightcap

"Eightcap delivers in every area for day traders with a growing selection of charting platforms and AI-powered tools. Now sporting 250+ crypto CFDs and the Crypto Crusher market scanner, it's also become a stand-out choice for crypto trading, winning our 'Best Crypto Broker' award two years in a row."

Christian Harris, Reviewer

Eightcap Quick Facts

Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsCFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities
RegulatorASIC, FCA, CySEC, SCB
PlatformsMT4, MT5, TradingView
Minimum Deposit$100
Minimum Trade0.01 Lots
Account CurrenciesUSD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, NZD, SGD

Pros

  • Having excelled across all key areas for day traders, Eightcap outperformed more than 490 competitors to win our 'Best Overall Broker' award for 2024, also securing our 'Best Crypto Broker' title.
  • With tight spreads from 0 pips, low commission fees, and high leverage up to 1:500 for certain clients, Eightcap provides cost-effective and flexible trading conditions that can accommodate an array of strategies, including day trading and scalping.
  • After bolstering its roster in 2021, Eightcap offers one of the most extensive selections of cryptocurrency CFDs in the market, with crypto/fiat pairs, crypto/crypto pairs, plus crypto indices for broader exposure to the market.

Cons

  • The demo account expires after 30 days and can only be extended upon request - a notable inconvenience compared to the likes of XM with its unlimited demo mode.
  • Despite a useful library of educational guides and e-books, Eightcap still trails IG’s comprehensive toolkit for aspiring traders with its dedicated IG Academy app and 18 course categories.
  • Eightcap needs to continue bolstering its suite of instruments to match category leaders like Blackbull Markets with its 26,000+ assets, featuring a particularly weak selection of commodities.

LiteForex Europe

"LiteForex is a good option for active day traders with variable spreads from 0.0 pips, daily analysis and high-quality training guides. The forex copy system also lets you duplicate the positions of experienced traders."

Christian Harris, Reviewer

LiteForex Europe Quick Facts

Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsCFDs, Forex, Indices, Commodities
RegulatorCySEC
PlatformsMT4, MT5
Minimum Deposit$50
Minimum Trade0.01 Lots
Leverage1:30
Account CurrenciesUSD, EUR, GBP, CHF

Pros

  • There's a comprehensive analytics portal by Claws&Horns, which offers video reviews, expert insights and short-term trading signals
  • LiteForex offers a range of proprietary mobile app tools which are ideal for traders who want to analyze the markets on the go
  • Low $50 minimum deposit makes LiteForex accessible for beginners

Cons

  • The range of day trading markets is limited compared to alternatives, with no share CFDs offered
  • There are limited funding methods compared to other brands
  • Cryptocurrency trading is not offered

DNA Markets

"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. "

Jemma Grist, Reviewer

DNA Markets Quick Facts

Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsCFDs, Forex, Indices, Commodities, Stocks, Crypto
RegulatorASIC
PlatformsMT4, MT5
Minimum Deposit$100
Minimum Trade0.01 Lots
Account CurrenciesUSD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, NZD, SGD

Pros

  • After a recent upgrade, there are now over 800 assets available to trade via CFDs, with a particularly impressive range of 120+ cryptos
  • You can access low trading fees with spreads from 0.0 pips in the Raw account and zero non-trading fees
  • Convenient account funding is available with 7 base currencies, a $100 deposit and a wide range of payment methods

Cons

  • Unlike many alternatives, there are limited educational and research tools for traders seeking an all-in-one solution
  • Despite access to MT4 and MT5, there is no proprietary trading app for seamless account management whilst on the go
  • Although it continues to strengthen its client base and reputation, DNA Markets lacks the track record of top brokers like Vantage

FOREX.com

"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."

Christian Harris, Reviewer

FOREX.com Quick Facts

Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsCFDs, Forex, Stocks, Cryptos, Futures, Options, Commodities
RegulatorNFA, CFTC, CIRO, FCA, CYSEC, ASIC, SFC, FSA, MAS, CIMA
PlatformsMT4, MT5, TradingView, eSignal, AutoChartist, TradingCentral
Minimum Deposit$100
Minimum Trade0.01 Lots
Leverage1:400
Account CurrenciesUSD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, JPY, CHF, PLN

Pros

  • Alongside a choice of leading platforms, FOREX.com offers a superb suite of supplementary tools including Trading Central research, SMART Signals pattern scanner, trading signals, and strategy builders.
  • The in-house Web Trader continues to shine as one of the best-designed platforms for aspiring day traders with a slick design and over 80 technical indicators for market analysis.
  • With over 20 years of experience, excellent regulatory oversight, and multiple accolades including runner-up in our 'Best Forex Broker' awards, FOREX.com boasts a global reputation as a trusted brokerage.

Cons

  • There’s no negative balance protection for US clients, so you may find yourself owing more money than your initial deposit into your account.
  • Despite increasing its range of instruments, FOREX.com's product portfolio is still limited to forex and CFDs, so there are no options to invest in real stocks, real ETFs or real cryptocurrencies.
  • FOREX.com's MT4 platform offers approximately 600 instruments, significantly fewer than the over 5,500 available on its non-MetaTrader platforms.

IC Trading

"With superior execution speeds averaging 40 milliseconds, deep liquidity, and powerful charting software, IC Trading delivers an optimal trading environment tailored for scalpers, day traders, and algorithmic traders. "

Christian Harris, Reviewer

IC Trading Quick Facts

Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsCFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Bonds, Cryptos, Futures
RegulatorFSC
PlatformsMT4, MT5, cTrader, AutoChartist, TradingCentral
Minimum Deposit$200
Minimum Trade0.01 Lots
Leverage1:500
Account CurrenciesUSD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, NZD, JPY, CHF, HKD, SGD

Pros

  • IC Trading offers unusual flexibility in its accounts, enabling traders to open up to 10 live and 20 demo accounts, meaning you can run separate profiles for different activities, such as manual trading and algo trading.
  • IC Trading provides industry-leading spreads, including 0.0-pip spreads on major currency pairs such as EUR/USD, making it ideal for day traders.
  • The simplified and digital account opening process saves time and effort, allowing traders to start trading sooner without extensive paperwork, taking just minutes during testing.

Cons

  • Customer support performed woefully during testing with multiple attempts to connect via live chat and no one available to assist, plus unanswered emails, raising concerns about its ability to address urgent trading concerns.
  • Despite being part of the trusted IC Markets group, IC Trading is authorized by a weak regulator - the FSC of Mauritius, with limited financial transparency and regulatory safeguards.
  • Unlike IC Markets, IC Trading does not support social trading through the group’s IC Social app or the third-party copy trading platform ZuluTrade.

RoboForex

"RoboForex is great if you want a vast range of 12,000+ day trading markets with ECN accounts, powerful charting and loyalty promotions. It also stands out for stock traders with its user-friendly R StocksTrader platform, featuring 3,000+ shares, fees from $0.01 and sophisticated watchlists."

Christian Harris, Reviewer

RoboForex Quick Facts

Bonus Offer$30 No Deposit Bonus
Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsCFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Futures
RegulatorIFSC
PlatformsR StocksTrader, MT4, MT5, TradingView
Minimum Deposit$10
Minimum Trade0.01 Lots
Leverage1:2000
Account CurrenciesUSD, EUR

Pros

  • The broker offers leverage up to 1:2000 for certain account types, which is among the highest in the industry. This high leverage allows day traders to maximize their trading potential, albeit with a corresponding increase in risk.
  • RoboForex offers over 12,000 instruments, providing more short-term trading opportunities than the vast majority of online brokers, with forex, stocks, indices, ETFs, commodities, and futures.
  • The R Stocks Trader platform rivals leading solutions like MT4, with netting and hedging capabilities, comprehensive backtesting, Level II pricing, and a flexible workspace.

Cons

  • While RoboForex offers competitive spreads, some of its account types come with high trading commissions up to $20 per lot, trailing the cheapest brokers, such as IC Markets.
  • Despite offering a range of platforms, RoboForex still doesn't support the increasingly popular cTrader. This might deter traders who prefer this specific platform for their day trading activities and is available at firms like Fusion Markets.
  • RoboForex provides a variety of account types, which, while offering flexibility, can be overwhelming for newer traders trying to choose the most suitable option for their trading style. Alternatives, notably eToro, provide a smoother entry into online trading with one retail account.

InstaForex

"InstaForex maintains its position as a top forex broker, with more currency products than most rivals. The tight spreads and low minimum deposits make it accessible to all experience levels, especially those familiar with the MT4 and MT5 platforms."

Christian Harris, Reviewer

InstaForex Quick Facts

Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsCFDs, Forex, Stocks, ETFs, Cryptos, Futures, Commodities
PlatformsMT4, MT5
Account CurrenciesUSD, EUR, GBP, PLN, CZK

Pros

  • There’s a decent range of free and fast payment methods including local bank transfers, bank cards and e-wallets
  • The broker is accessible for beginners, with low minimum deposits and zero-commission trading available
  • InstaForex delivers a superb day trading environment, with the powerful MT4 and MT5 platforms offering dozens of technical analysis tools, automation capabilities and multiple order types

Cons

  • Market coverage and account conditions vary between entities.
  • The broker’s various entities are regulated different, traders must be aware which entity they are joining.
  • The broker’s website and client cabinet feel outdated and difficult to navigate for newcomers

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.