Forex Trading 2020 – Tutorial and Brokers

Forex trading is a huge market that started in the 1970s. Trillions are traded in foreign exchange on a daily basis. Whether you are an experienced trader or an absolute beginner to online forex trading, finding the best forex broker and a profitable forex day trading strategy or system is complex. So learn the fundamentals before choosing the best path for you.

With this introduction, you will learn the general forex trading tips and strategies applicable to currency trading and online forex. It will also highlight potential pitfalls and useful indicators to ensure you know the facts. Lastly, use the trusted broker list to compare the best forex platforms for day trading 2020.

Read on to discover the A-Z of forex, how to start trading, and how to judge the best platform…

Top 3 Forex Brokers

Forex.com are a leading forex broker. Offering the largest range of currency pairs (80+) and some of the tightest spreads in the industry.
NinjaTrader offer Traders Futures and Forex trading. Use Auto-trade algorithmic strategies and configure your own trading platform, and trade at the lowest costs.
eToro is a multi-asset platform which offers both investing in stocks and cryptoassets, as well as trading CFDs.
75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Forex Opinions

Opinions and tips from professionals in the forex trading business.

October 22, 2020

The USDCHF currency pair on the Daily Chart has been in a downtrend since 25 September 2020 when it registered the high price at 0.92954, followed by a series of lower tops and bottoms. On 21 October 2020, the Swissy recorded the low price of 0.90296. When applying Oscillator Analysis to the price chart, one […]

Forex News

October 6, 2020

Turkey’s Central Bank has increased its one-week repo-rate from 8.25% to 10.25% in an attempt to support price stability and restore the disinflation process. The change was made public in a press statement that followed the bank’s latest Monetary Policy Committee meeting. Because inflation has risen dramatically due to a faster-than-predicted economic recovery that has […]

Forex Blog

August 19, 2020

The yen is typically thought of as the most notable safe haven in the FX market. That’s one of the first things an FX trader learns about the market. There are a few main arguments why the Japanese yen is considered a safe haven: i) Japan has a positive net foreign asset position. This means […]

Why Trade Forex?

The forex currency market offers the day trader the ability to speculate on movements in foreign exchange markets and particular economies or regions. Furthermore, with no central market, forex offers trading opportunities around the clock.

  • Liquidity – In the 2020 forex market, the average volume traded per day is $6,6 trillion. So, there is an abundance of trades and moves you can make.
  • Diversity – Firstly, you have the pairs stemming from the eight major global currencies. On top of that, many regional currency pairings are also available for trade. More options, more opportunities to turn a profit.
  • Accessibility – While not quite 24/7, the forex market is readily accessible, open twenty-four hours a day, five days a week. As a result, you decide when to trade and how to trade.
  • Leverage – A significant amount of forex currency pairings are traded on margin. This is because leverage can be used to help you both buy and sell large quantities of currency. The greater the quantity, the greater the potential profit – or loss.
  • Low commissions – Forex offer relatively low costs and fees compared to other markets. In fact, some firms don’t charge any commission at all, you pay just the bid/ask spreads. True ECN firms may also offer 0 spread!

Currencies Traded In Forex

Major

In the international forex day trading world, the vast majority of people focus on the seven most liquid currency pairs when learning how to trade forex – these are known as the four ‘majors’:

  • EUR/USD (euro/dollar)
  • USD/JPY (dollar/Japanese yen)
  • GBP/USD (British pound/dollar)
  • USD/CHF (dollar/Swiss franc)

In addition, there are three emerging pairs:

  • AUD/USD (Australian dollar/dollar)
  • USD/CAD (dollar/Canadian dollar)
  • NZD/USD (New Zealand dollar/dollar)

These major currency pairs, in addition to a variety of other combinations, account for over 95% of all speculative trading in the forex market, as well as retail forex.

However, you will probably have noticed the US dollar is prevalent in the major currency pairings. This is because it’s the world’s leading reserve currency, playing a part in approximately 88% of currency trades.

Minor

If a currency pairing doesn’t include the US dollar, it’s known as a ‘minor currency pair’ or a ‘cross-currency pair’. Hence the most popularly traded minor currency pairs include the British pound, Euro, or Japanese yen, such as:

  • EUR/GBP (euro/British pound)
  • EUR/AUD (euro/Australian dollar)
  • GBP/JPY (British pound/Japanese yen)
  • CHF/JPY (Swiss franc/Japanese yen)

You can also delve into the trade of exotic currencies such as the Thai Baht (THB), South African Rand (ZAR) and Norwegian Krone (NOK). However, these exotic extras bring with them a greater degree of risk and volatility.

Day Trading forex - How to trade forex

Finding The Best Forex Broker

So, where do you start forex trading? Forex trading can’t be done without a broker, so first you need to find one. It’s often easy to go for big names or groups in the forex industry, however the “best” forex broker will often be subjective, with each having positives and negatives. This means less objective ranks, instead it may come down to the pairs you want to trade, the platform, trading using spot markets or per point, or simple ease of use requirements.

Below is a list of comparison factors that should be considered before saying yes or no to a broker. Some may be more important to you than others, but all should be given some thought. Details on all these elements for each brand can be found in the individual reviews.

Lowest Trading Costs

Spreads, commission, overnight fees – everything that reduces your profit on a single trade needs to be considered. High frequency trading means these costs can ratchet up quickly, so comparing fees will be a huge part of your broker choice. Brokers such as RobinHood offer commission-free trading, though this is usually compensated for with wider spreads.

Inactivity or withdrawal fees are also noteworthy as they can be another drain on your balance.

Trading Platform

The trading platform needs to suit you. Whether you want a simple cut down interface, trading using only a keyboard, or multiple built in features, widgets and tools – your best option may not be the same as someone else’s.

Several brokers build their own proprietary platforms for trading on, such as TD Ameritrade’s ThinkOrSwim platform or the iForex trading platform. However, there are many great industry-wide platforms available.

Learn more about online forex trading platforms here.

Demo accounts are a great way to try out multiple platforms and see which works best for you. Remember also, that many platforms are configurable, so you are not stuck with a default view.

Mobile Trading

Trading forex on the move will be crucial to some people, less so for others. Most brands offer a mobile app, normally compatible across iOS, Android and Windows.

If this is key for you, then check the app is a full version of the website and does not miss out any important features. The download of these apps is generally quick and easy – brokers want you trading.

Some apps are better for beginners while others can be quite complex, so be sure to check before committing.

Read more on forex trading apps here.

Customer Service

Is customer service available in the language you prefer, such as Spanish or English? Is there live chat, email and telephone support? When are they available?

Customer support quality can vary from a part time call centre to dedicated personal advisors and forex trading mentors. Some brokers, such as Fidelity, have teams with 24/7 customer support available for queries at all times of the day, week or weekend. How high a priority this is, only you can know, but it is worth checking out.

Asset List

Does the broker offer the markets or currency pairs you want to trade? A pretty fundamental check, this one. If you are trading major pairs, then all brokers will cater for you.

If you want to trade Thai Bahts or Swedish Krone you will need to double check the asset lists and tradable currencies. Many brokers also offer CFD instruments on the US30 index or silver with the XAU/USD pair, for example.

Regulation

Do you want a broker regulated by a particular body – the FCA, SEC or ASIC perhaps? Remember European regulation might impact some of your leverage options, so this may impact more than just your peace of mind. We cover regulation in more detail below.

Spreads Or Commission

Partly covered in trading costs, but the spreads are often a comparison factor on their own. Spreads are defined as the difference between the bid and the ask price that the broker quotes. Spreads can vary a lot with forex trading and have a large impact on profitability.

Remember, you are not tied down to one broker so if you trade several currency pairs, then you can shop around for several brokers to get the tightest spreads. When learning how to trade forex, multiple accounts can also provide different educational materials.

There is nothing wrong with having multiple accounts to take advantage of the best spreads on each trade. Beware of slippage ‘hiding’ wider spreads too often.

Payment Methods

Deposit method options at a certain forex broker might interest you. Do you want to use Paypal, Skrill or Neteller? Are you happy using credit or debit cards knowing this is where withdrawals will be paid too?

Some forex brokers now accept deposits in Bitcoin or a range of other crypto’s too.

Security

Most brands will follow regulatory demands to separate client and company funds, and offer key levels of user data security.

Some brands might give you more confidence than others, and this is often linked to the regulator or where the brand is licensed. Foreign exchange trading can attract unregulated operators. Security is a worthy consideration.

Demo Accounts

Try before you buy. Most credible brokers are willing to let you see their platforms risk free. To practice forex trading on a demo account or simulator is a great way to test a strategy, back test or learn a platform’s nuances – as well as allowing anyone to learn how to trade forex from scratch. Try as many as you need to before making a choice – and remember having multiple accounts is fine (even recommended).

Account Types

From cash, margin or PAMM accounts, to Bronze, Silver, Gold and VIP levels, account types can vary. The differences can be reflected in costs, reduced spreads, access to Level II data, settlement or different leverage. Micro accounts might provide lower trade size limits for example.

Retail forex and professional accounts will be treated very differently by both brokers and regulators, as professional classification involves accepting greater risks. An ECN account will give you direct access to the forex contracts markets. So research what you need, and what you are getting.

Leverage

For European forex traders this can have a big impact. Retail forex leverage is capped at 1:30 by all European brokers under the ESMA rule, though leverage can reach 1:400 for professional-classified traders. Assets such as Gold, Oil and stocks are capped separately.

In Australia however, traders can utilise leverage of 1:500. That makes a huge difference to deposit and margin requirements. Australian brands are open to traders from across the globe, so some users will have a choice between regulatory protection or more freedom to trade as they wish.

Just note that the average leverage rate increases potential losses, just as it does potential profits.

Margin Calculator

Tools Or Features

From charting and futures pricing to trading calculators and bespoke robots, brokers offer a range of tools to enhance the trading experience. Again, the impact of these as a deciding factor on opening account will be down to the individual.

Level 2 data is one such tool, where preference might be given to a brand delivering it. Some brokers, for example Trade360, offer social trading tools with their service.

OctaFX forex trading calculator

Education

For beginners, getting started with forex trading can be intimidating. Learning the meaning of terminology and how it all works is a lot to take in. Fortunately, many brokers provide free tutorials and guides so you can get key terms explained. These can be in the form of e-books, pdf documents, live webinars, expert advisors (EAs), university courses and classes online, or a full academy program.

Whatever the source, it is worth judging the quality before opening an account. Bear in mind forex companies want you to trade, so will encourage trading frequently.

MetaTrader 4 or 5

Integration with popular software packages like Metatrader 4 or 5 (MT4 or MT5) might be crucial for some traders. These are two of the top trading platforms, available in the USA, UK and across the world. Many brands offer automated trading or integration into related software, but if you are going to rely on it, you need to make sure.

MetaTrader software

Bonus

From cashback, to a no deposit bonus, free trades or deposit matches, brokers used to offer loads of promotions. Regulatory pressure has changed all that. Bonuses are now few and far between. Our directory will list them where offered, but they should rarely be a deciding factor in your forex trading choice. Also always check the terms and conditions and make sure they will not cause you to over-trade.

Execution Speed

Desktop platforms will normally deliver excellent speed of execution for trades. But mobile apps may not. While this will not always be the fault of the broker or application itself, it is worth testing.

Scams

Our reviews have already filtered out the scams, but if you are considering a different forex trading brand, avoid getting caught out by thinking about these questions to ask yourself;

  • Were you ‘cold called’? Reputable firms will not call you out of the blue (This includes emails, or facebook or Instagram channels)
  • Are they offering unrealistic profits? Just stop and consider for a minute – if they could make the money they are claiming, why are they cold calling or advertising on social media?
  • Are they offering to trade on your behalf or use their own managed or automated trades? Do not give anyone else control of your money.

If you have any doubts, simply move on. There are plenty of legitimate, legal brokers.

With all these comparison factors covered in our reviews, you can now shortlist your top forex brokers, take each for a test drive with a demo account, and select the best one for you. We have ranked brokers based on our own opinion and offered ratings in our tables, but only you can award ‘5 stars’ to your favourite!

Read who won the DayTrading.com ‘Best Forex Broker 2020‘ on the Awards page.

Forex Broker Reviews

Use this table with reviews of the top forex brokers to compare all the FX brokers we have ever reviewed. Note that some of these forex brokers might not accept trading accounts being opened from your country. If we can determine that a broker would not accept your location, it is marked in grey in the table.

Forex Broker Reviews
Broker Demo Min Dep. MT4 Bonus
101investing Yes $250 Yes No
12Trader Yes $500 No No
24Option Yes $250 Yes No
4xCube Yes $10 Yes No
AAAFx Yes $300 Yes Yes
AccentForex Yes $50 Yes Yes
ActivTrades Yes $500 Yes Yes
Admiral Markets Yes $100 Yes No
ADS Securities Yes $100 Yes No
AETOS Yes $250 Yes Yes
AGEA Yes $1 Yes Yes
Alpari Yes From $/£/€ 5 Yes Yes
Alpho Yes $100 No No
Alvexo Yes 500 EUR/USD Yes No
Amana Capital Yes $50 Yes Yes
ArgusFX No No minimum Yes No
Arum Capital Yes $500 No No
AskoBID No €250 No No
ATC Brokers Yes $5,000 No No
ATFX Yes 100 $/€/£ Yes No
Atiora Yes $1 Yes Yes
Avatrade Yes $100 Yes No
Axes Yes $100 No No
Axiory Yes $50 Yes No
AxiTrader Yes 0 $/€/£ Yes No
Ayondo Yes £1 Yes No
BCS Forex Yes $1 Yes Yes
BDSwiss Yes 100 $/€/£ No No
Binary.com Yes $5 Yes No
BlackBull Markets Yes $200 Yes No
Blackwell Global Yes $250 Yes No
BP Prime Yes $5,000 Yes No
Bulbrokers Yes $100 Yes No
Capital Index Yes $100 Yes Yes
Capital.com Yes £/$/€100 No No
CGS-CIMB Yes 100 SGD Yes No
CityIndex Yes £/$100 Yes Yes
CMC Markets Yes £ 0 Yes No
CMTrading Yes $250 Yes No
Corsa Capital Yes $1 No Yes
DeltaStock Yes $100 Yes Yes
Deriv.com Yes €/£/$5 No No
DIF Broker Yes Undisclosed No No
DirectFX No $100 Yes No
DMM FX Yes Undisclosed Yes No
Dukascopy Yes $100 Yes Yes
EagleFX Yes $10 Yes No
Easy Markets Yes €100 Yes No
Eightcap Yes A$100 Yes No
Equiti Yes $500 Yes No
ETFinance Yes $250 Yes No
eToro Yes $200 ($50 in US) No No
ETX Capital Yes £250 Yes No
EuropeFX Yes €200 Yes No
EverFX Yes $250 Yes Yes
Financika No $200 No Yes
Finexo Yes $100 Yes No
Finq.com Yes $100 Yes No
Fondex Yes No minimum No No
Forex.com Yes $100 Yes No
ForexTB Yes $250 Yes No
FortFS Yes $5 Yes Yes
Fortrade Yes $100 Yes No
FP Markets Yes $100 Yes No
FreshForex Yes $10 Yes Yes
Fullerton Markets Yes $100 Yes Yes
Fusion Markets Yes No Minimum Yes No
FXCM Yes £300 Yes No
FxGlory Yes $1 Yes Yes
FxNet Yes $50 Yes No
FXOpen Yes $300 Yes Yes
FXPIG Yes $500 Yes No
FXPro Yes $100 Yes No
FXTM Yes From $10 Yes Yes
GCI Yes $500 Yes Yes
GKFX Yes €100 Yes No
GO Markets Yes $200 Yes Yes
Hantec Markets Yes No minimum Yes No
IC Markets Yes $200 Yes No
ICM Brokers Yes $300 Yes No
IFGM Yes $200 Yes No
iFOREX Yes $100 No No
IG Group Yes £250 Yes No
Infinox Yes £1 Yes No
InstaForex Yes €1 to €1000 (Account choice dependent) Yes No
Interactive Brokers Yes $10000 No No
Invest.com Yes £0 Yes Yes
Investous Yes $250 Yes No
IQ Option Yes $10 No No
IronFX Yes $100 Yes Yes
JP Markets Yes No minimum Yes Yes
Juno Markets Yes $100 Yes Yes
Just2Trade Yes £2500 Yes No
Key To Markets Yes $100 Yes No
Khwezi Trade Yes R 2,000 Yes No
Land FX Yes $300 Yes Yes
Larson & Holz Yes $250 No No
LBLV Yes $5,000 No Yes
LCG Yes 0 $/€/£ Yes No
LegacyFX Yes $500 No No
Libertex Yes $100 Yes No
LiteForex Europe Yes $50 Yes No
LiteForex Investments Yes $50 Yes Yes
LMFX Yes $100 Yes Yes
LQDFX Yes $20 Yes Yes
Markets.com Yes $250 Yes No
Mega Trader FX Yes None Yes Yes
Mitto Markets Yes No minimum Yes No
Moneta Markets Yes $200 No Yes
Nadex Yes $250 No No
NinjaTrader Yes $50 Yes No
Noble Trading Yes $100 Yes Yes
NordFX Yes $10 Yes No
Oanda Yes $0 Yes No
Orbex Yes $200 Yes No
PaxForex Yes $10 Yes Yes
Pepperstone Yes £200 / $200 Yes No
Plus500 Yes $100 No Yes
PrimeXBT No 0.001 BTC No No
Q8 Trade Yes $250 Yes Yes
Questrade Yes $1,000 No Yes
RoboForex Yes $10 Yes Yes
ROInvesting Yes $250 Yes No
Saxo Bank Yes $10000 Yes No
SimpleFX Yes None Yes Yes
Skilling.com Yes 100 £/€/$ or 1000 NOK, SEK Yes No
Spectre.ai Yes No minimum No No
Spreadex No $1 No No
Squared Financial Yes $100 Yes No
Swissquote Yes $1,000 Yes No
SynergyFX Yes $50 Yes Yes
TD Ameritrade Yes None No Yes
TeleTrade Yes 100 EUR/USD Yes No
TeraFX Yes $100 Yes No
ThinkMarkets Yes No minimum Yes No
Tickmill Yes $100 Yes Yes
Tier1FX Yes $1,000 Yes No
TIO Markets Yes $50 Yes No
Trade12 No $250 Yes No
Trade360 Yes $250 No No
TradeTime Yes $500 Yes Yes
Trading212 Yes €/£/$100 No No
TrioMarkets Yes $500 Yes Yes
TusarFX Yes $1 Yes Yes
UFX Yes $100 Yes No
Uptos No $250 No No
Valutrades Yes None Yes No
VantageFX Yes $200 Yes Yes
Varianse Yes $500 Yes No
Videforex Yes $250 No Yes
Weltrade Yes $25 Yes No
WH SelfInvest Yes €500 Yes No
Windsor Brokers Yes $100 Yes Yes
XGlobal Markets Yes $500 No No
XM Yes 5 $/€/£ Yes Yes
XTB Yes No Minimum Yes No
XTrade Yes $250 No No
Zero Markets Yes $200 Yes Yes
ZuluTrade Yes $1 to $300 (Broker choice dependent) Yes No

Forex Regulation

Regulation should be an important consideration. Whether the regulator is inside, or outside, of Europe is going to have serious consequences on your trading. ESMA (the European Securities and Markets Authority) have imposed strict rules on forex firms regulated in Europe. This includes the following regulators:

  • CySec (Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission)
  • FCA (Financial Conduct Authority)
  • BaFin – (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht)
  • Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Switzerland)

ESMA have jurisdiction over all regulators within the EEA

The rules include caps or limits on leverage that vary between financial products. Forex leverage is capped at 1:30 (Or x30). Outside of Europe, leverage can reach 1:500 (x500).

Traders in Europe can apply for Professional status. This removes their regulatory protection, and allows brokers to offer higher levels of leverage (among other things).

Outside of Europe, the largest regulators are:

  • SEC – Securities and Exchange Commission (US)
  • CFTC – Commodity Futures Trading Commission (US)
  • CSA – Canadian Securities Administration
  • ASIC – Australian Securities and Investments Commission

These cover the bulk of countries outside Europe. Forex brokers catering for India, Hong Kong, Qatar etc are likely to have regulation in one of the above, rather than every country they support. Some brands are regulated across the globe (one is even regulated in 5 continents). Some bodies issue licenses, and others have a register of legal firms.

To reiterate, an ASIC forex broker can offer higher leverage to a trader in Europe.

An easy way to check for regulation is to look for a disclaimer stating the percentage of losing traders, as this is required by many regulators. You can also check the small print at the bottom of a website as this usually contains regulation information.

Which Currencies Should You Trade?

Investors should stick to the major and minor pairs in the beginning. This is because it will be easier to find trades, and lower spreads, making scalping viable.

Exotic pairs, however, have much more illiquidity and higher spreads. In fact, because they are riskier, you can make serious cash with exotic pairs, just be prepared to lose big in a single session too.

See Live forex rates here.

How Is Forex Traded?

So how does forex trading work? The logistics of forex day trading are almost identical to every other market. However, there is one crucial difference worth highlighting. When you’re day trading in forex you’re buying a currency, while selling another at the same time. Hence that is why the currencies are marketed in pairs. So, the exchange rate pricing you see from your forex trading account represents the purchase price between the two currencies.

For example – the rate for GBP/USD represents what 1 pound is worth in dollars. So, $300 at a rate of 1.3 will buy £230. So, if you have reason to believe the pound will increase in value versus the US dollar, you would purchase, say, 500 pounds with US dollars. Then, if the exchange rate climbs, you would sell your pounds back and make a profit. Likewise with Euros, Yen etc.

Contracts

Forex contracts come in a range of types:

  • Spot forex contracts
    • The conventional contract. Delivery and settlement is immediate.
  • Futures forex contracts
    • Delivery and settlement takes place on a future date. Prices are agreed directly, but the actual exchange is in the future.
  • Currency swaps
    • Where two parties can ‘swap’ currency, often in the form of loans, or loan payments in differing currencies.
  • Options forex contracts
    • An option gives a trader, the option (but not the obligation) to exchange currencies at a certain price on a date in the future.

Forex Orders

There are a range of forex orders. Some common, others less so. Using the correct one can be crucial.

The two main types of forex orders are:

1. Instant order or Market order

2. Pending orders

Instant Order / Market Orders

These are executed immediately at market prices.

A Buy is an instruction to ‘go long’ or profit from rising markets. A Sell means opening a short position with an expectation of falling values.

Pending Orders

A Stop loss is a preset level where the trader would like the trade closed (stopped out) if the price moves against them. It is an important risk management tool. It instructs the broker to close the trade at that level. A guaranteed stop means the firm guarantee to close the trade at the requested price.

A stop loss that is not guaranteed may ‘slip’ in volatile market conditions, and a trade closed, close to, but not on, the stop level. The shock of the Swiss Franc (CHF) being ‘unpegged’ was one such event.

A Trailing Stop requests that the broker moves the stop loss level alongside the actual price – but only in one direction. So a long position will move the stop up in a rising market, but it will stay where it is if prices are falling. It allows traders to reduce potential losses in good times, and ‘lock in’ profits, whilst retaining a safety net.

A take profit or Limit order is a point at which the trader wants the trade closed, in profit. It is a good tool for discipline (closing trades as planned) and key for certain strategies. It is also very useful for traders who cannot watch and monitor trades all the time.

One Cancels Other

A One Cancels the Other (OCO) Order is a combination of a Stop and Limit order, but if one is triggered, the other order is removed or cancelled. It is an important strategic trade type.

Cryptocurrency

Leading Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Ripple (XRP) are often traded as a currency pair against the US dollar. These can be traded just as other FX pairs. Their exchange values versus each other are also sometimes offered, e.g. BTC/ETH or ETH/LTC etc.

Charts

Charts will play an essential role in your technical analysis and opportunity identification. Your preferred time frame will depend on the chosen strategy. Traders can essentially zoom into a chart, reducing the time step along the chart. Typical charts range from 1 minute to 8 hours, with 5-minute, 15-minute or 4-hour time frames in between.

In fact, the right chart will paint a picture of where the price might be heading going forwards. For example, day trading forex with intraday candlestick price patterns is particularly popular.

See our charts page for further guidance.

Strategy

Any effective forex strategy will need to focus on two key factors, liquidity and volatility. These are two of the best indicators for any forex trader, but the short-term trader is particularly reliant on them.

Intraday trading with forex is very specific. While your average long-term futures trader may be able to afford to throw in 12 pips hedging (smallest price movement is usually 1%) here and cut 12 there, a day trader simply cannot. This is because those 12 pips could be the entirety of the anticipated profit on the trade.

Precision in forex comes from the trader, but liquidity is also important. Illiquidity will mean the order won’t close at the ideal price, regardless of how good a trader you are. As a result, this limits day traders to specific trading instruments and times.

Volatility is the size of markets movements. So, firm volatility for a trader will reduce the selection of instruments to the currency pairs, dependant on the sessions. As volatility is session dependent, it also brings us to an important component outlined below – when to trade.

When To Trade

Even though some brokers claim 24/7 trading, the markets are actually only open 24/5 and not all times are good for trading. You should only trade a forex pair when it’s active, and when you’ve got enough volume. Trading forex at weekends will see small volume. Take GBP/USD for example, there are specific hours where you have enough volatility to create profits that are likely to negate the bid price spread and commission costs.

The forex market is alive 24 hours a day, with the same trading hours whether you are in the USA or Zambia, because the time zones mean there’s always a global market open somewhere. Despite that, not every market actively trades all currencies. As a result, different forex pairs are actively traded at differing times of the day.

For example, when the UK and Europe are opening, pairs consisting of the euro and pound are alight with trading activity. However, when the New York Stock Exchange, NYC, is active, pairs that involve the US dollar and Canadian dollar are actively traded.

So, if you were trading EUR/USD pairs, you’ll find the most trading activity when New York and London are open, or Tokyo for JPY and Sydney for the AUD.

Utilise forex daily charts and graphs to see major market hours in your own timezone. The below image highlights opening hours of markets (and end of session times) for London, New York, Sydney and Tokyo. Crossover periods represent the sessions with most activity, volume and price action, when forex trading is most profitable.

There are only two days in the calendar year with no forex trading hours: Xmas and New Year. The markets are completely closed on these days, whether they are weekdays or not.

Forex market hours sessions

Forex Trading Sessions

Each session has a unique ‘feel’:

  • Asian Session: Made up of the Asian markets, opening in New Zealand and Australia and moving west. This session generates lower volume and smaller ranges. The JPY, NZD and AUD are popular markets and news events can move prices significantly.
  • The London (‘European’ Session): Actually kicks off in Frankfurt, and London an hour later. The UK opening sees larger volume in the Forex markets, plus volatility will peak during this session. European institutions, banks and account managers will be active and macro-economic data is released.
  • The New York (US) Session: This opens at 9.30am New York time, but US fundamental data can be released at 8.30am. This can create early volume before the ‘official’ 9:30 opening.

The London and New York ‘crossover’ sees the most volatility and liquidity. Key fundamental data is released, financial institutions trigger forex contracts and ‘smart money’ is involved.

Trading Alerts Or Signals

Forex alerts or signals are delivered in an assortment of ways. User generated alerts can be created to ‘pop up’ via simple broker trading platform tools, or more complex 3rd party signal providers can send traders alerts via SMS, email or direct messages. Whatever the mechanism the aim is the same, to trigger trades as soon as certain criteria are met.

These criterion usually rely on chart patterns and/or candlestick formations. Our charting and patterns pages will cover these themes in more detail and are a great starting point. Paying for signal services, without understanding the technical analysis driving them, is high risk.

It is impossible to judge a service, if you do not understand it.

Traders who understand indicators such as Bollinger bands or MACD will be more than capable of setting up their own alerts.

But for the time poor, a paid service might prove fruitful. You would, of course, need enough time to actually place the trades, and you need to be confident in the supplier.

Some signal providers, such as the Forex Lines 7 and Trading System 3000, need no download, instead integrating directly with the MT4 trading platform.

It is unlikely that someone with a profitable signal strategy is willing to share it cheaply (or at all). Beware of any promises that seem too good to be true. You can read more about automated forex trading here.

50 Pips A Day

If you download a 2020 pdf with forex trading strategies, this will probably be one of the first you see. Beginners can also benefit from this simple yet robust technique since it’s by no means an advanced trading strategy. However, before venturing into any exotic pairs, it’s worth putting it through its paces with the major pairs.

So, when the 07:00 (GMT) candlestick closes, you need to place two contrasting pending orders. Firstly, place a buy stop order 2 pips above the high. Then place a sell stop order 2 pips below the low of the candlestick. As soon as price activates one of the orders, cancel the one that hasn’t been activated.

In addition, make sure you place a stop-loss order anywhere between 5-10 pips above the 07:00 high/low. This will help you keep a handle on your trading risk. Now set your profit target at 50 pips. At this point, you can kick back and relax whilst the market gets to work.

If the trade reaches or exceeds the profit target by the end of the day then all has gone to plan and you can repeat the next day. However, if the trade has a floating loss, wait until the end of the day before exiting the trade.

Simple Moving Averages

Another simple yet popular system, often found in PDFs with ‘1 or 5 minute trading strategies’, is called the 3SMA (simple moving average) crossover system. Most forex trading platforms come with the simple moving average chart tool, which adds lines that follows the average price over given numbers of time periods, the smaller the time-period the shorter-term averages it follows.

This strategy follows the interaction of three moving averages, normally set at around 15 periods, 30 periods and 100 periods. The 100 SMA represents the main trade, and all trades should be made in this direction.

The signals for a buy trade are that the price is above the 100 SMA, both the 15 and 30 SMAs are above the 100 SMA and the 15 SMA has crossed to above the 30 SMA. Trades should be closed when the price closes below the 30 SMA. For a sell trade, the conditions are completely reversed, with the lines stacked upside down and the price below the 100 SMA.

This system can be used with 4hr charts, though the strategy can be modified for shorter time frames with exponential moving averages (EMA), called the MACD 3-line system, which put more emphasis on the more recent price movements.

There are a myriad of other trading strategies and systems online, each with their own pdf guides, success rates and time frames. Many systems have indicators that can be downloaded and installed onto trading platforms, such as the 1-minute scalping, the 4-hour RSI forex trading strategy, the slingshot 30m strategy and System 9 6 Winners.

Other powerful strategies use statistical analysis, for example z-score systems. While many strategies can be effective, and those that crop up in several ‘7 winning strategies’-type PDFs may seem like the best, it is important to truly understand them to minimise risk and maximise profits.

For more detailed examples of top forex trading strategies, see our strategies page on intraday trading techniques.

Video Demonstration – How To Trade Forex

Get access to an IQ Option demo account here.

Forex Trading Software

There is a massive choice of software for forex traders. Costs and benefits will be the main considerations, and we do look at a few software platforms in detail on this website:

MetaTrader 4

MetaTrader 5

AlgoTrader

TradingView

NinjaTrader

These platforms cater for Mac or Windows users, and there are even specific applications for Linux.

Social trading (or ‘Copy trading’) platforms are another variety of software associated with forex trading. The leading pioneers of that kind of service are:

eToro

ZuluTrade

Many forex trading platforms have app versions that can be downloaded to Apple (ipa) and Android (apk) devices. Top apps, like MetaTrader 4, retain the majority of the capability of the desktop version.

Some brokers even take it up a level and provide their own bespoke trading platforms, such as Trading 212.

We list more options and details on the forex trading platforms page and on our software page. For beginners, finding the best platform usually results in an intuitive, easy-to-use platform that is well-regarded.

Education

If you want to increase that forex day trading salary, you will also need to utilise a range of educational resources to gain more advanced forex knowledge, allowing new trading possibilities to be unlocked.

Top educational resources include:

  • Books – You can get profitable strategies books, books on scalping, regulations, price action, technical indicators, and more. There are a myriad of forex trading books released every year, with focuses on all areas, so you can find the best books on 2020 beginner guides and strategies, forex trading for dummies or two-step trend analysis, for example. Though there is no universal top forex book, Jim Brown is a notable author with many bestselling books.
  • Chat rooms & forums – Day trading forex live forums are a fantastic way to learn from experienced traders. Some will even share their best free trading systems. Just beware the quality of advice.
  • Blogs – If you want to hear success stories from forex millionaires, then day trading forex blogs and live streams might be the place to go. Again, tread carefully with any advice offered.
  • Forex websites – There are a number of specific forex websites with no login credentials required. Some offer free signals, techniques for spotting trend lines and setting up your platform. There is also a lot of vocabulary to learn for forex trading, and most brokers provide definitions of keywords and online trading lessons.
  • PDFs – Many 101 lessons and guides on trading systems can be found online. Unlike live chat rooms, charts and images will often be provided to support written evidence.

Tips

Money Management

The most profitable forex strategy will require an effective money management system. One technique that many suggest is never trading more than 1-2% of your account on a single trade. So, if you have $10,000 in your account, you wouldn’t risk more than $100 to $200 on an individual trade. As a result, a temporary string of bad results won’t blow all your capital.

Then once you have developed a consistent strategy, you can increase your risk parameters. The Kelly Criterion is a specific staking plan worth researching.

Automation

Automated forex trades could enhance your returns if you have developed a consistently effective strategy. This is because instead of manually entering a trade, an algorithm or bot, such as the Net89, will automatically enter and exit positions once pre-determined criteria have been met. In addition, there is often no minimum account balance required to set up an automated system.

Though some forex trading bots can be profitable, there are lots of ineffective products out there and markets are complex so no robot will work all the time.

However, those looking at how to start trading from home should probably wait until they have honed an effective strategy first.

For further guidance, see our automated trading page.

Taxes

When you read a blog about forex traders, such as ‘a day in the life’, they often leave out the impact of tax. In fact, it is vital you check your local rules and regulations as forex trading will often be taxed. Traders in the US will receive 1099 forms from their brokers if they make enough money through trading. Failure to understand local tax laws could lead to legal issues.

See our taxes page for details.

Webinars & Training Videos

They are the perfect place to go for help from experienced traders. This is because forex webinars can walk you through setups, price action analysis, plus the best signals and charts for your strategy. In fact, in many ways, webinars are the best place to go for a direct guide on currency day trading basics.

Most top brokers offer webinars on their website. Alternatively, both brokers and experienced traders provide forex trading 101 YouTube videos and channels. Those with ‘2020 forex trading guide’ in the title will have up-to-date, relevant information. Experienced traders such as Coleman D’Angelo have several recent videos with strategy explanations and software advice.

Trading Journal

The use of a forex trading journal allows you to self-evaluate and analyse previous trades, helping to improve future trading. Detail is key here, as understanding what went right or wrong with trades will help avoid repeat mistakes and continue success. It can also be useful to take notes and jot down ideas in the back for future reference.

Spreadsheets (XLS) and apps are often used to make forex trading journals, though a pre-made PDF plan and template can be downloaded off the internet or you can even use a physical journal book.

3 Mistakes To Avoid

1. Averaging Down

While you may not initially intend on doing so, many traders end up falling into this trap at some point. The biggest problem is that you are holding a losing position, sacrificing both money and time. Whilst it may come off a few times, eventually, it will lead to a margin call, as a trend can sustain itself longer than you can stay liquid.

This is particularly a problem for the day trader because the limited time frame means you must capitalise on opportunities when they come up and exit bad trades swiftly.

2. Trading Too Soon After the News

Big news comes in and then the market starts to spike or plummets rapidly. At this point it may be tempting to jump on the easy-money train, however, doing so without a disciplined trading plan behind you can be just as damaging as gambling before the news comes out. This is because illiquidity and sharp price movements mean a trade can quickly translate into significant losses as large swings take place or ‘whipsaw’.

The solution – wait for the volatility to subside and you can verify the trend.

3. Days of Interest

It’s great having an effective once a day trading method and system. However, even a consistent strategy can go wrong when confronted with the unusual volume and volatility seen on specific days. For example, public holidays such as Christmas/Xmas and New Year, or days with significant breaking news events, can open you up to unpredictable price fluctuations.

Countries

The country or region you trade forex in may present certain issues, especially as trading is spreading around the world. For example, African countries such as Zimbabwe and Kenya are seeing more forex trading, although they typically fall under less regulation. Forex traders with brokers in the USA and Canada will need to read up on pattern trading rules (Canadian traders have it slightly easier).

Trading in South Africa might be safest with an FSA regulated (or registered) brand. The regions classed as ‘unregulated’ by European brokers see way less ‘default’ protection, so a local regulator can give additional confidence. This is similar in Singapore, the Philippines or Hong Kong. The choice of ‘best forex broker’ will therefore differ region to region.

Trading forex in less well regulated nations, such as Nigeria and Pakistan, means leaning towards the more established European or Australian regulated brands.

Forex Trading – Is It Halal?

Under the traditional model, some believe forex trading is illegal/haram in Islam because brokers charge interest, or riba, for holding positions open overnight. However, many brokers have recognised this barrier and offer Muslim trading accounts with no overnight swap charges, providing a halal forex trading service.

Though we have researched the topic, we are not attempting to provide religious guidance and advice to readers. If you are in doubt, we would recommend seeking guidance from your own religious leader and speaking to the customer support teams of the top brokers reviewed on this website.

Forex Trading – Is It Profitable?

Many people question what a trader’s salary is, and whether forex trading can be a career. The truth is it varies hugely. Most people and businesses will struggle to turn a profit and eventually give up. On the other hand, a small minority prove not only that it is possible to generate income, but that you can also make huge yearly returns and not go back to traditional jobs.

If you are one of the ones who can really make money from online forex trading, you can do it with as little money as $50, or even $1, though it is easier and quicker to build capital if you begin with more. So, forex trading can make you rich, but there are no guarantees. 75-80% of retail traders lose money.

Bottom Line

Currency is a larger and more liquid market than both the U.S stock and bond markets combined. In fact, a surplus of opportunities and financial leverage make it attractive for anyone looking to make a living day trading forex.

Unfortunately, there is no universal best strategy for trading forex. However, trade at the right time and keep volatility and liquidity at the forefront of your decision-making process. Follow these general rules for FX day trading and you’ll be on the right path.

Further Reading

For Specific Countries

FAQ

How does forex trading work?

Traders speculate on fluctuations in the price of global currencies. There are dozens of currency pairs to trade on, the most popular of which include the USD, and are known as ‘major’ forex pairs. To trade on forex, users sign up to a broker who then provides a platform to connect traders to the market.

What is a forex trading broker?

A forex broker is a firm that provides access to a platform on which foreign currencies can be bought and sold. Brokers may use different platforms or offer different pairs of currencies to be traded, though they all offer the same base service.

Is forex trading profitable?

Forex trading can make you money. With that said, the majority lose money. Generating consistent returns requires an effective strategy and discipline, as no one can master forex trading in 60 seconds. Those wondering if forex trading can be a shortcut to make you a millionaire may be disappointed.

Is forex trading legitimate?

Forex trading is a legitimate job for many individuals from around the world. Licensed and regulated brokers provide a large and accessible forex market for clients to take positions on the price of leading currency pairs.

Whether forex trading is legal or illegal will depend on the jurisdiction you are in. It is legal in many countries around the world, from the UK and Europe to Asia and Australia. With that said, many brokers do not accept clients from the US. Check the legal status of forex trading in your country before you register for an account.

Is forex trading gambling?

For those that approach forex trading carefully, it is not gambling. It’s about taking a disciplined approach to legitimate financial markets with the aim of generating returns.

Is forex trading easy or hard?

Making consistent profits from forex trading is hard. It requires a successful strategy, initial capital, and a sensible approach to risk. Most forex traders lose money and those that don’t are likely to be the first to say it isn’t easy.

Where do I start forex trading?

For beginners, forex trading can feel daunting. It’s a market with a daily trading volume in the trillions, a long list of currency pairs to potentially trade, plus a wealth of online resources and brokers to get your head around. As a result, we’d recommend doing your research before you start forex trading and opening an account with a forex broker that has all the tools and tips to help you get started. Reading our forex articles here on DayTrading.com is a great start for an aspiring currency trader.

Is forex trading really worth it?

Whether forex trading is really worth it depends on what your aims and risk appetite are. If your goal is to learn more about financial markets and to generate returns from market patterns, then yes – forex trading may be worth it. However, forex trading is risky and does require a careful approach to risk management.

What is forex trading all about?

What does forex trading mean is fairly straightforward. Essentially, it works works by individuals taking positions on which direction they believe the market will move in, meaning another trader or liquidity provider will take the opposing position. Making the forex market work to your advantage requires an understanding of what influences the value of currencies.

Which forex trading platform is the best?

The best trading platforms and mobile apps depend on individual preference. Users want different assets, trading tools and fee structures. Fortunately, our website is where traders to go to find the best forex trading platforms for beginners up to experts. Our reviews detail and rank the best forex platforms and brokers.

When did forex trading start?

Modern forex trading started in the 1970s when the US allowed the Dollar to float freely on the currency exchange market. With that said, forex trading in one form of another has been around for thousands of years. Today most currencies can be traded and the overall daily FX trading volume tops $6 trillion.

Will forex trading last forever?

It’s hard to say how long forex trading will last and whether it will ever end. Forex trading started thousands of years ago when currencies were first introduced. Many believe that for as long as they do exist, there will be opportunities to profit from their price fluctuations.

When are the forex trading sessions?

Forex trading times vary. With that said, key forex markets follow a schedule. The London and European session starts at 07:00 GMT, the New York session begins at 12:00 GMT, the Sydney session starts at 21:00 GMT, and the Tokyo session begins shortly after at 23:00 GMT, before closing at 08:00 GMT.

Do forex trading robots really work?

Forex trading bots are legal and can be profitable. However, for bots to be worth it, they need to follow pre-determined rules that form part of a successful strategy. Used correctly, robots can bring in profits while cutting down the number of hours spent manually placing trades.

Can forex trading be a full time job?

To make a career out of forex trading, clients need a consistently successful strategy. Traders will also need to define their risk tolerance and have enough capital to cover potential losses.

Are forex trading courses worth it?

For beginners, forex trading courses can be an excellent way to learn about the markets and understand its drivers. Good courses can also provide guidance on how to develop an effective forex trading strategy. See our forex training courses page for more information.

Does forex trading get taxed?

Local rules and regulations vary, but forex trading in many jurisdictions is taxable. To find out whether forex trading losses are tax deductible and to understand your obligations when it comes to profits, check the rules in your area. See see our taxes page for more information.

Do forex trading signals work?

Forex trading signals can be an excellent indicator of market and price sentiment. The right signals may help you assert a market edge. Learn how to find the best forex trading signals.

Is forex trading halal?

Whether forex trading is halal or haram is open to interpretation. Today, many brokers offer swap-free accounts to provide Islam-friendly trading conditions. If in doubt, consult your religious leader before creating a forex trading account.

Does forex trading have PDT rule?

The Pattern Day Trader (PDT) rule is set the by FINRA and SEC and requires traders to have at least $25,000 in equity. However, this rule applies to stock trading and is not applicable to forex trading.

What units is forex traded in?

Forex trading involves buying one currency with another, but the units used are rarely pounds or dollars. Though $1,000 or $100 may be steps you are most interested in, lots and pips are what is used, which can be confusing.

A pip is the smallest price change possible, which is $0.0001 for USD pairs. A lot, however, is the smallest quantity that can be physically traded in the markets and is equal to $100,000, so 0.1 lots is $10,000 and 0.01 lots is $1,000.

How old do I need to be to trade forex?

In most countries, you cannot trade forex until you are considered a legal adult. In the UK and USA, this means you cannot trade under the age of 18. Some countries may require traders to be 20 or 21 years old.