The safest brokers are highly sought after, providing their clients with some comfort that their funds are protected and they are insured against broker insolvency. While it is easy to focus on trading fees, platforms, assets and leverage, we think safety and security are paramount. This guide discusses the importance of choosing the safest brokers, before exploring ways to identify them. We have also provided a list below of our favourite, safe brokers.
#1 - Forex.com
Forex.com boasts a global reputation with multiple awards and 20+ years experience. Regulated in the US, EU, UK and Canada they provide a huge range of day trading markets, not just forex, and offer competitive fees on a cutting-edge platform. The brand also provides a suite of additional tools, from performance analytics and SMART Signals to advanced charts and strategy builders.
"Forex.com is an excellent broker for active forex traders with over 80 currency pairs, tight spreads, low commissions and powerful charting platforms for day traders. "- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: Forex, Spot Metals
- Regulator: NFA, CFTC
- Platforms: MT4, MT5, TradingView, eSignal, AutoChartist, TradingCentral
- Min. Deposit: $100
- Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
- Leverage: 1:50
- Fast execution speed of less than 1 second
- Beginner-friendly web platform and mobile app
- VPS hosting for automated trading strategies
- Investment offering varies between countries
- No copy trading platform
- $15 monthly inactivity fee
#2 - Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers is a leading global brokerage that provides access to a comprehensive offering of stocks as well as forex, futures, metals, bonds and cryptos. The firm has over 40 years experience in the online trading industry and is heavily regulated by SEC, FCA, IIROC, and SFC. Day traders can use the proprietary Trader Workstation and can access powerful tools and data feeds as well as comprehensive educational resources.
"Experienced day traders seeking a regulated broker with sophisticated trading software and very low fees should look at IB. Their range of stocks also can't be beaten."- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: CFD, Forex, Stocks, Crypto, Futures, Options, Commodities
- Regulator: SEC, FCA, IIROC, SFC
- Platforms: AlgoTrader, OmniTrader, eSignal, TradingCentral
- Min. Deposit: $0
- Min. Trade: $100
- Leverage: 1:50
- Diverse payment options and account currencies
- Commission reimbursement with Toggle AI
- You have a reliable real-time market data feed, that rarely goes offline
- Accessing products like CFDs is not straightforward compared to competitors
- The TWS platform falls short in terms of technical charting
- Mediocre customer support
#3 - NinjaTrader
NinjaTrader is a US-headquartered and regulated brokerage that specializes in futures trading. There are three pricing plans to suit different needs and budgets, as well as ultra-low margins on popular contracts. The brand's award-winning charting software and trading platform also offers a high-degree of customization and superb technical analysis features.
"NinjaTrader is well-positioned to meet the demands of active futures traders looking for low fees and premium analysis tools. The platform hosts top-rate charting features with custom indicators. "- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: Forex, Stocks, Options, Commodities, Futures, Crypto
- Regulator: NFA, CFTC
- Platforms: NinjaTrader Futures, eSignal
- Min. Deposit: $50
- Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
- Leverage: 1:50
- Low fees with $50 day trading margins & commissions from $.09 per micro contract
- Industry-leading futures broker with multiple awards
- Excellent trading software for active day traders with bespoke technical indicators and widgets
- Non forex and futures trading requires signing up with partner brokers
- Withdrawal fee on some funding methods
- Premium platform tools come with an extra charge
#4 - eToro USA
eToro is a social investing platform that offers stocks, ETFs, options, and crypto. The broker is well-known for its user-friendly community-centred platform and competitive fees. With FINRA and SIPC oversight and millions of users across the world, this brand is highly respected. eToro securities trading is offered by eToro USA Securities, Inc.
"eToro is a top pick for traders looking for social investing and copy trading. With a low deposit, zero commissions and an intuitive platform, the broker will meet the needs of newer traders."- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: Stocks, Options, ETFs, Crypto
- Regulator: SEC, FINRA
- Platforms: Own
- Min. Deposit: $10
- Min. Trade: $10
- eToro USA Securities is a trustworthy, SEC-regulated broker that is a member of FINRA and SIPC
- The $10 minimum deposit and straightforward account opening process means beginners can get started quickly
- The online broker offers an intuitive social investment network with straightforward copy trading on cryptos
- No MetaTrader 4 platform integration
- Execution speeds trail the fastest brokers
- Average fees may cut into the profit margins of day traders
#5 - OANDA US
OANDA is a popular brand offering exceptional execution, low deposit requirements and advanced charting and trading platform features. The top-rated brand has over 25 years of experience and is regulated by trusted agencies, including the NFA/CFTC. Around the clock support is available, alongside flexible contract sizes and automated trade executions.
"OANDA is an excellent broker for US day traders seeking a user-friendly platform with premium analysis tools and a straightforward joining process. OANDA is also heavily regulated with a very high trust score."- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: Forex, Crypto
- Regulator: NFA, CFTC
- Platforms: MT4, TradingView, AutoChartist
- Min. Deposit: $0
- Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
- Leverage: 1:50
- Low minimum deposit for beginners
- US clients accepted
- Reliable, trustworthy and secure brand with authorization from tier-one regulators
- Customer support not available on the weekend
Why It Is Important To Choose The Safest Brokers
Protecting Your Earnings
Whilst the risk of defaulting is low (depending on the broker), there is still some danger. Insolvency could arise from liquidity issues, fraud and/or other events. Choosing a safe broker will reduce the chance of getting caught up in one of these events. In the event of a safe broker collapsing, there are typically compensation schemes available to recover your funds.
Peace Of Mind
Choosing a safe broker should ensure that you will be dealt with fairly by your chosen broker. Should the broker stop operating, safe and regulated brokers are covered and therefore you will get a percentage of your funds back as compensation (this varies depending on the regulatory authority). Worrying about whether or not your funds are safe will detract from your time and energy that could have otherwise been spent on researching future investments for instance. Therefore, choosing a safe broker will give you the best chance of success in your investment endeavours.
What To Look For In The Safest Brokers
You should ensure the broker you are trading with is properly regulated by a reputable authority. Regulators ensure that a broker is compliant with various criteria set out by said authority, which have been put in place for the protection of clients. For instance, regulators generally ensure brokers hold their client’s funds in separate bank accounts so they cannot use them for their business overheads or general operations. Regulators often cover your funds if fraud is involved, though this varies.
The majority of regulated brokers make prospective users well aware of their regulatory status to encourage users to trade with them. Unregulated brokers are generally far less transparent about their regulatory status. and tend to offset their lack of regulation by offering tight spreads and bonuses, among other lucrative deals.
Regulated brokers are typically held to a standard of conduct when it comes to recommending particular services. This is based on the ‘suitability rule’, which requires there to be reasonable grounds for recommending a specific investment or product to a client. As part of this, many firms identify the client, their savings goals, their financial and tax status, in addition to their investment objectives from which suitable recommendations can be made. Brokers that offer several investment packages whilst neglecting from asking you your personal and financial information should be avoided as everyone’s situation is different.
When looking for the safest brokers, regulated firms should provide a regulatory reference number, typically by some kind of disclaimer or notation at the bottom of that relevant page. Once this is found, you can cross-reference it with the relevant regulator’s online database. Unscrupulous brokers can and have faked information in the past, so you should always verify information from the official source
You should also check that the broker is authorised to do what it claims to (e.g. if a broker offers CFDs, then it should be authorised to do so)
You can also check whether the address, companies house number and trading and brand names match.
It is also important to note that regulators vary by country. Some regulators are less strict and not as generous with compensation schemes. Brokers in offshore jurisdictions can often have lower regulatory safety measures and requirements. In some cases, jurisdictions do not require financial services to be regulated at all. It is important to check that your broker is regulated by a robust regulator. We have listed some of the more reputable agencies below:
- UK – FCA (Financial Conduct Authority)
- South Africa – FSB (Financial Services Board)
- US – SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission)
- India – SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India)
- Australia – ASIC (Australian Securities & Investments Commission)
- Denmark – Financial Supervisory Authority Denmark (Finanstilsynet)
- Germany – BaFin (The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority / Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht)
- Cyprus – CySEC (Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission) – often used to ‘passport’ regulated brands across Europe
Negative Balance Protection
Negative balance protection ensures that traders do not lose more than their account balance when trading with brokers providing leveraged products. Whilst it is usually a part of regulations and therefore your right if your brokerage is regulated, it is often worth ensuring that your broker does indeed provide it. Unregulated brokers may say they offer negative balance protection features, though they will be under no legal obligation to follow through with it if your account balance falls below zero.
Secure online brokers should offer a suite of features to ensure your information and data is protected. These usually include two-factor authentication (2FA), SSL encryption and partnerships with reputable exchanges to deliver transactions and ensure personal/financial information is kept secure. The safest brokers will also ensure that personal information is solely used for trading purposes and only when necessary.
It is important to check both industry and consumer reviews of the brokers you are considering. Industry reviews like those on our site are a good way to get a fact-checked breakdown of the validity of the features the broker claims to offer, its regulation and the customer service.
If the broker has a mobile app, you can look at consumer reviews on the relevant store. Take customer reviews with a pinch of salt, as some will call brokers a scam without a valid reason to. That being said, customer reviews can be a good way to gauge the reception of the broker on their general customer base. It is also important to note that the most popular and talked about brokers are not always the safest. You should do your research and decide for yourself, as opposed to following the decisions of others.
Brokers control the various price points, transaction expenses and trading costs they impose on clients, thereby influencing the potential profits they can make. Transparency refers to how clear and open a firm’s operations and pricing structure are. If a broker is more transparent, traders can better assess how that broker operates and whether that specific broker is safe and right for them. Regardless of whether you wish to trade forex, crypto, stocks or shares, broker transparency can help enable traders to achieve greater success, as they may be more comfortable knowing their funds are safe and they will not be lumped with massive surprise costs.
The safest brokers will clearly outline all the costs involved with using their services, including spreads, commissions, inactivity charges, transaction costs, interest rates and margin rates. If a broker is more discreet with its price points, it is perhaps an indication that the broker is hiding something and hopes to catch clients out.
A brokerage’s business model is a part of its transparency. Whilst it is difficult to understand whether a broker has a safe business model, there are generally a few red flags to look out for. Trading on behalf of clients and the brokers own accounts can often lead to conflicts of interest and excessive risk-taking. Market making on exotic products like binary options is an operational risk and would mean the broker profits from your losses.
Regardless of your level of trading expertise, there is a strong likelihood you will require assistance or support from a broker at some point when trading. Safe brokers should be easy to contact and have experienced customer service with fast response times. Before you set up an account with a particular brokerage, it may be worth getting in touch with its customer support team to confirm that it is functional and to your liking.
By investing using several brokers, you can reduce the risk of loss. If you only use one broker and it defaults, you could lose a significant proportion of your funds. If you use multiple brokers, the failure of one broker will not hurt the returns of your overall investments quite as much.
Different brokers offer different assets, which have varying risks. Whilst the broker itself may be safe, the asset you trade in could be riskier than others. It could even be riskier trading a volatile asset with a safe broker than it is trading a secure asset with an unsafe broker. Cryptocurrency exchanges, especially DEXs, are often unregulated and tend to list very volatile tokens and assets.
Final Word On The Safest Brokers
Which broker you choose is fundamentally one of the most important investment decisions you will need to make. Whilst signing up for a brokerage with the best bonuses, best ad campaign or highest popularity can be appealing, successful trading requires extensive research to ensure your funds are secure and your investments can be as successful as possible. Before you identify the best online brokerage for you, there are several factors you need to take into account. You should define your individual needs and determine your investing style. This involves trading frequency, hours, quantity and the assets/markets you want to trade in, in addition to brokerage and asset safety. Personal cost/benefit analysis is therefore required to find out which broker is best for you. If you choose a relatively safe brokerage, then you may have to compromise on price. On the other hand, if you choose a relatively cheap brokerage, you might have to compromise on the safety of the brokerage, or the trading platform features available.
Where Can I Find The Safest Brokers?
There are several avenues you could go down to find the best brokers. Firstly, you can check out our list of the top safest brokers here. Alternatively, you can look into brokers regulated by top-tier agencies like the FCA, BaFin, ASIC or SEC and explore customer reviews, pricing transparency, customer service and security features offered.
Which Regulators Authorise The Safest Brokers In Different Countries?
Some of the most rigorous and trusted regulators across the world include the FCA, SEC, ASIC, BaFin, FSB, CySEC and SEBI. Many jurisdictions don’t require financial services to be regulated to trade so online brokers can operate offshore and be scrutinised to more lenient regulatory standards or no standards whatsoever.
Are The Safest Brokers Risk-Free?
While brokers can be safe and trustworthy, this does not mean that trading through them doesn’t come with any risk. Financial speculation like day trading or long term investing is inherently risky, as financial markets are unpredictable and there is always the chance that trends can reverse, leaving you at a loss.
How Can I Identify The Safest Brokers?
The safest brokers can be identified using a variety of measures. Safe brokers are typically regulated, have negative balance protection, have good online protection, are secure, have good reviews, adequate customer support and are transparent.
Should I Only Consider The Safest Brokers?
This depends on your personal requirements, goals and risk appetite. Some financial instruments and markets are only offered by unregulated or offshore brokers, such as crypto derivatives or binary options brokers. This is not to say that you are guaranteed to lose all of your money with such firms, as many still want to grow and retain clientele, so will act in their clients’ interests. However, they are also held to fewer or no legal requirements and you may run into problems with them. For the most security, regulated, safer brokers are recommended.