Best Forex Brokers for 2021

Kevin VoigtAug 23, 2021

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Trading forex, which involves exchanging one currency for another on the foreign exchange market, isn’t for the faint of heart or the inexperienced.

No investment is without risk, but forex trading tips the risk meter further with its rapid trading pace and high leverage, which means investors can quickly lose more than their initial investments. Of course, that means you can also profit at the same speed, which — combined with liquidity — is what attracts investors to currency trading.

When selecting your forex broker, you should consider trading platforms and tools, the number of currency pairs offered, leverage maximums, customer service and, of course, costs. But comparing costs is tricky in forex trading: While some brokers charge a commission, many advertise no commissions, earning money in the bid-ask spread — the difference between the price a broker or dealer is paying for the currency (the bid) and the price at which a broker or dealer is selling a currency (the ask). Brokers essentially roll their fees into that spread, widening it and pocketing the excess.

That’s just one reason why the search for the best forex broker is complex. Another is that there are a variety of brokers, many of them unregulated or regulated in countries outside of the U.S. For our list of best currency trading brokers, we considered only those that are regulated by the National Futures Association and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

If you’re aware of the risks and still prepared to dive in, here are NerdWallet’s top picks for the best brokers for forex trading. (Thinking you want to dive out instead? Trading stocks might be more your speed — here are the best brokers for that.)

One suggestion: All of these brokers offer free demo accounts so you can test the market with virtual dollars. Dip a toe in with some play money before using your own cash.

Best online brokers for trading forex

Online broker

Details

TD Ameritrade
NerdWallet rating 

on TD Ameritrade's website

Commission: Spread markup

Currency pairs: 75

Account minimum: $0

Interactive Brokers IBKR Pro
NerdWallet rating 

on Interactive Brokers's website

Commission: 0.08 - 0.2 basis points, depending on trade volume.

Currency pairs: 105

Account minimum: $0

Ally Invest
NerdWallet rating 
Read review

Commission: Spread markup

Currency pairs: 80

Account minimum: $250

Commission: Choice of spread markup or commission account. Commissions are $5 per 100,000 traded per side. Trade sizes under or over 100,000 are charged on a pro rata basis with a minimum of $0.01 per trade.

Currency pairs: 70

Account minimum: $0

Commission: Choice of spread markup or commission account. Commissions are $5 per 100,000 traded per side.

Currency pairs:  80+

Account minimum: $50

Commission: $0.60 for 10,000 traded; $6 for 100,000 traded. Commissions charged round turn.

Currency pairs: 38

Account minimum: $2,000

Disclosure: The author held no positions in the aforementioned securities at the original time of publication.

Methodology

NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest U.S. brokers and robo-advisors by assets under management, along with emerging industry players, using a multifaceted and iterative approach. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgments on which ones will best meet your needs.

DATA COLLECTION AND REVIEW PROCESS

We collect data directly from providers, and conduct first-hand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. Our process starts by sending detailed questionnaires to providers to complete. The questionnaires are structured to equally elicit both favorable and unfavorable responses from providers. They are not designed or prepared to produce any predetermined results. The questionnaire answers, combined with product demonstrations, interviews of personnel at the providers and our specialists’ hands-on research, fuel our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance across more than 20 factors. The final output produces star ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

RATING FACTORS

Evaluations vary by provider type, but in each case are based upon the weighted averages of factors that include but are not limited to: advisory and account fees, account minimums and types, investment selection, investment expense ratios, trading costs, access to human financial advisors, educational resources and tools, rebalancing and tax minimization options, and customer support including branch access, user-facing technology and mobile platforms.

Each factor can involve evaluating various sub-factors. For instance, when gauging the investment selections offered by robo-advisors, 80% of the score is based on the potential for diversification (how well-diversified a resulting portfolio of investments could be) combined with the availability of specialty portfolios and level of customization for investors. Expense ratios form an additional 10% of the score, and low or no management fee the remaining 10%.

FACTOR WEIGHTINGS

The weighting of each factor is based on our team’s assessment of which features are the most important to consumers and which ones impact the consumer experience in the most meaningful way. The factors considered, and how those factors are weighted, change depending upon the category of providers reviewed.

Provider categories include: Best Brokers for Stock Trading, Best Brokers for Beginners, Best Brokers for Day Trading, Best Brokers for Options Trading, Best Discount Brokers, Best Brokers for Free Trading, Best Investment Apps, Best Brokers for Penny Stocks, Best IRA Brokers, Best Robo-Advisors, Best Financial Advisors, Best Real Estate Platforms, Best Brokers for ETFs and Best Brokers for Mutual Funds.

INFORMATION UPDATES

Writers and editors conduct our broker and robo-advisor reviews on an annual basis but continually make updates throughout the year. We maintain frequent contact with providers and highlight any changes in offerings.

THE REVIEW TEAM

The review team comprises seasoned writers, researchers and editors who cover stocks, bonds, mutual funds, index funds, exchange-traded funds, alternative investments, socially responsible investing, financial advisors, retirement and investment strategy on a daily basis. In addition to NerdWallet, the work of our team members has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, USA Today, Bloomberg News, Nasdaq, MSN, MarketWatch, Yahoo! Finance and other national and regional media outlets.

The combined expertise of our Investing team is infused into our review process to ensure thoughtful evaluations of provider products and services from the customer perspective. Our writers and editors combine to have more than 70 years of deep experience in finance, ranging from a former Wall Street Journal reporter to a former senior financial advisor at Merrill Lynch.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

While NerdWallet does have partnerships with many of the reviewed providers, we manage potential conflicts of interest by maintaining a wall between our content and business operations. This wall is designed to prevent our writers and the review process from being influenced or impacted by our business partnerships. This way, all reviews can provide an unbiased review that serves the interests of our users. For more information, see NerdWallet’s editorial guidelines.

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