Forex Brokers in the USA
The number of online forex brokers in the USA has grown significantly in recent years. North America’s average daily FX trades by volume climbed to $967 billion in 2021 up 4% vs the same time period in 2020. So it’s worth understanding the different options available.
Here we list the key points to compare when considering forex brokers that accept US clients, from the lowest spreads and trading fees to the highest leverage and best promotions.
Foreign exchange, also known as forex, operates 24 hours a day, across hundreds of platforms, making it an accessible and exciting market in which to trade. Retail investors can access the FX markets through dedicated online brokers, who are essentially a financial service provider for US customers seeking to buy and sell foreign currency. They may also trade with other asset classes such as cryptocurrency, commodities like gold, indices like the Dow Jones, or a key volatility index like the VIX 75.
Importantly, transactions in the forex market are straightforward. A trader opens a trade by purchasing a currency pair and closes a position by selling the same pair. For example, US clients interested in exchanging USD for EUR would buy into the EUR/USD pair. If the exchange rate is higher when a trade is closed, a profit will be gained. If the exchange rate is lower, a loss will be generated.
A Long History of Transactions
The trade of currency dates back to ancient times and by the 15th century, banks were being opened in foreign locations to enable the trade of textiles internationally. Roll forward to 1850 and trading picked up significantly in the US. By 1880, the modern foreign exchange market was operating and in the early years of the twentieth century, almost half of the world currency exchanges were denominated in GBP.
The 1980s then saw the rapid development of the forex market as technology advanced at pace and the emergence of the internet, offering easier global communication, has given more individuals direct access to investment tools.
Types of Forex Brokers in the USA
- No Dealing Desk – Essentially skipping a dealing desk, Straight Through Processing (STP) offers the best quotes from various forex providers and offers significant liquidity. Brokers in the United States will use this model to offer the most competitive bid-ask spreads.
- Market Maker – Market maker brokers buy large amounts of foreign currency from clients and then sell it to other traders of a particular asset in order to achieve liquidity and, therefore, the smooth running of financial markets. Income is made from the price differentials on these trades, which are known as spreads and are typically competitive in the USA due to the number of market maker forex brokers in the country.
- ECN – Electronic Communication Network forex brokers execute straight-through processing with a direct connection between clients and liquidity providers via an automated network. ECN brokers consolidate the best price quotations from market participants, generally offering traders tighter bid-ask spreads than would be otherwise available to them.
Comparing the Best Forex Brokers in the USA
It is a bigger task than just trawling Google for reviews of forex brokerages. Consider the following criteria to find the broker and platform best suited to your investing strategy.
High charges erode margins, of course, so an understanding of the key fees and how forex brokers make money is important:
A spread transaction is the difference between the bid and the ask price of an asset. Some of the best US forex brokers such as IG and Interactive Brokers trade with some of the lowest spreads seen in the market. Low or zero spread investing is more attractive to forex traders because the difference between the bid and ask price is smaller, which implies lower volatility.
Importantly, spreads are measured in pips. 1 pip can be either variable or fixed and wider spreads mean that forex brokers would charge a customer more when buying but would receive less when selling. The top brands host a comparison table of spreads by major, minor and exotic currency pairs on their website.
Commission is charged to investors when they buy or sell assets. Some of the best forex brokers in the USA charge no or low commission to incentivise the trader. Fees can also be based on the volume or size of trades. Some forex brokers charge lower fees if the size of the trade is greater.
Forex brokerages may also charge currency conversion costs, as well as investor’s maintenance and overnight fees.
Market-leading platforms for retail investors include MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5), which are supported by the top five forex brokers in the USA as well as a number of smaller brokerages which use the platforms.
As the world’s most popular retail platforms for traders of forex and CFDs, the software is downloadable for Mac and Windows and most mobile devices.
The MetaTrader 4 system has strong reliability and security and comes with some of the following functionality: faster ECN; multiple options for charting forex and other financial instruments; automated trades with the use of API, algorithms and other indicators; fast, one-click processing of trades, pricing changes and other trading alerts. A user-friendly and customizable dashboard also makes managing trades and account activity straightforward.
Forex brokers using MetaTrader 5 offer the latest upgrade from MetaTrader 4, with advanced features: extensive historical data; live headline alerts to allow traders to stay across the latest news; broad educational resources available online from your forex brokers or downloadable to PDF; access to a range of key financial tools and indicators.
Many forex brokers in the USA also develop and start offering their own bespoke platforms, suited to the trade of multiple different asset classes such as indices or cryptocurrency.
Some companies have invested heavily in providing high quality, internally-developed software, while some forex brokers instead of using their own platform or MetaTrader, connect customers on TradingView via their website.
Forex brokers in the USA should be regulated by the National Futures Association (NFA) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). They can be found on the regulator’s official registration list and are considered the safest option, promoting fair and transparent investing within the financial market and protecting investors from scams.
Note, see the regulator’s official list for brands that have been exposed for fraudulent activity.
Regulators impose strict rules including a restriction on maximum leverage opportunities. This also applies if you are opening an account with an international broker and are a registered citizen of the USA. Residents cannot legally trade with a forex broker that does not hold regulation from these authorizations.
Unlike stockbroker customers, clients of forex brokers are not protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, in the event that a brokerage is forced to close. It is therefore important for investors to check whether their account offers negative balance protection.
Note, those interested in forex investing in the US through derivatives can also make use of vanilla options, binary options, futures and swaps.
There are many different features which forex brokers in the USA can provide to enhance the experience for the customer.
Nowadays online brokers are expected to have a comprehensive mobile app as well as a webpage so that traders can trade on the move.
US forex brokers are also using social media platforms such as TikTok, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Other social media sites popular in the USA such as Reddit can provide a good discussion platform for investing tips.
In addition, tier 1 forex brokers will provide an abundance of videos, tutorials and lessons. Furthermore, beginner investors can enrol in online courses or engage in copy trading.
Deposits & Withdrawals
In order to execute trading transactions, investors will need to fund their account by depositing capital to trade. There are many US forex brokers offering and accepting debit cards, credit cards, PayPal, MPesa and many other payment methods such as cryptos for deposits and withdrawals.
Some of the leading US forex brokers set a no minimum deposit limit, allowing customers to choose exactly how much of their capital they wish to risk. Then there are others with low minimum deposit requirements, for example, $1, $5 or $10, for beginner-level customers.
Forex brokers offering account types with much higher minimum deposits, for example, $100 to $1,000, tend to incentivize traders by providing additional features such as access to expert advisors, quicker execution times and personalized portfolio valuation.
Typically, the best forex brokers in the USA are ones with quick deposits and withdrawals. Most brokerages will also detail how long it will take for payments to be processed on their official website.
Note, be careful when registering at forex brokers without stringent KYC protocols.
Access to responsive customer support is key. Live chat is the most convenient, often with the fastest response times. The top FX brokers in the US are also active on social media channels like Telegram. In addition, check that customer support opening hours span the times you plan to actively trade.
Customer service representatives should be able to walk through how to make Bitcoin deposits, share secrets about platforms, plus provide details of any official qualifications that their trading experts hold.
Trading forums are also a good place to ask questions about various topics, from finding platforms that allow hedging and companies that use MT5 to firms supported by TradingView and lists of unregulated, offshore providers.
Despite secure internet transactions, the decentralized and global nature of the forex investment environment does carry some risk so it is advisable to only trade with regulated entities. The best US forex brokers in New York and beyond will offer various account security measures. This can include additional layers of protection such as two-factor authentication (2FA) and one-time passwords for account access.
Transactions with high leverage can amplify losses so investors need to be cautious and forex brokers’ leverage quotes vary. Regulatory authorization restricts USA retail investors’ access to highly leveraged trading opportunities. This includes 500:1, 1000:1 and 2000:1 leverage ratios.
Typical margin opportunities by asset are as follows:
- Minor Currency Pairs: Available leverage up to 20:1 on minor currencies
- Major Currency Pairs: Limited to 50:1 on major currencies including with GBP, EUR and CAD
Note, you can view leverage comparisons on forex trading platforms.
A first in first out rule also prevents clients from holding concurrent positions in the same forex asset. Any existing position in a currency will be squared off for the opposite position in the same currency pair, so there are limited forex brokers where hedging is allowed.
For short forex options, the notional transaction value amount plus an option premium received should be maintained as a security deposit. For long forex, the full option premium is generally needed as security.
Bonus & Promotions
You will find some of the top forex brokers in the USA offering various incentives to new or existing clients, both at home and abroad. Promotions can include a sign-up welcome bonus or no deposit bonus. Minimum volume investments and verification requirements may also apply.
A Regulation Best Interest, known as Reg BI, is a standard of conduct for all new or existing forex brokers involved in securities transactions to identify and eliminate any bonus, promotion or non-financial compensation based on sales of specific securities within a limited time. The 2020 Reg BI is a safeguarding method, designed to ensure brokers act in the best interest of investors.
See our list of forex brokers that give sign up deals and welcome bonuses here.
Your forex account type is the backbone of your investing potential and getting the right profile can set you up for trading success.
- Live Accounts – Forex brokers for US clients are offering a variety of account types from ECN profiles, swap-free, zero commission, low spread, micro or nano lots transactions and cent accounts. The main differences between live accounts will come in the form of fees, minimum deposit requirements, access to assets and additional features.
- Demo Accounts – The top forex brokers for US traders will allow the use of their platforms and software in a simulated environment, without the need for verification details. The paper-based account setting is ideal for beginners or those wanting to try out a new strategy risk-free. Additionally, it offers the opportunity to get a feel for proprietary terminals and learn nuances, meaning investors can gain knowledge and confidence before opening live positions. The best forex demo accounts will have no expiration times and provide access to unlimited virtual funds and flexible leverage on all assets.
How to Get Started
Firstly, select a forex broker that offers investment opportunities in your country of residency. The best brokers accepting US clients will be regulated, have a transparent pricing structure, offer access to a variety of assets and provide established platforms including bespoke analysis tools and proprietary software.
With your broker chosen, open a live trading account and fund it with an initial deposit. Some brokers may impose a minimum deposit requirement. Often you cannot start investing without providing proof of residency such as a driving license or passport.
Final Word on Comparing Forex Brokers in the USA
This guide is intended to give investors a strong footing when they seek a US forex broker. There are many factors to consider so it is important to check each of your key criteria before signing up and depositing funds.
Importantly, the US market is mature and investors can operate with some level of assurance that most brokers will be registered with the NFA. However, as with all investing, there is an element of risk and traders much ensure that, regardless of which forex broker they sign up with, they employ a suitable risk management strategy.
Start trading with our list of beginner-friendly forex brokers in the USA with $0, $50 to $100 minimum deposits.
What Is A Good Definition Of US Forex Brokers?
A forex broker is a financial services provider that allows clients to buy or sell currency. For traders based in the states, a US forex broker would be most suited. Nowadays it is assumed that cryptocurrency falls under this category as some coins can be pegged to fiat currencies such as GBP, USD and EUR for example.
Do US Forex Brokers Report To The IRS?
No, US forex brokers are normally regulated by National Futures Association (NFA) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) though any earnings need to be reported to the IRS.
Do US Forex Brokers Want You To Lose Money?
Typically, forex brokers in the USA want investors to be successful when dealing with their company so that customers keep returning and entering the market with them. If brokers take a commission from transactions, then the more trades made, the better.
Do Forex Brokers In The USA Trade Against You?
Brokers acting as a market maker may take up positions against their clients, regardless of whether you are spread betting or entering a forex contract. See our guide above for more details on the different types of forex brokers in the US.
Do Forex Brokers In The USA Charge Commission?
Do USA Forex Brokers Manipulate Prices?
In theory, no. Most online brokers will offer a spread on the price of an asset which is essentially the difference between the buy and sell price. If a brokerage is offering a high spread, then that means that there might be a large difference between the two prices offered. This, while not being ideal trading conditions, is not a manipulation of price.