Choosing a good broker

6 Crucial Things to Consider When Choosing a Forex Broker

The retail forex market is so competitive that just thinking about having to sift through all the available brokers can give you a major headache.

Choosing which forex broker to trade with can be a very overwhelming task especially if you don’t know what you should be looking for.

In this section, we will discuss the qualities you should look for when picking a broker.

1. Security

The first and foremost characteristic that a good broker must have is a high level of security. After all, you’re not going to hand over thousands of dollars to a person who simply claims he’s legit, right?

Fortunately, checking the credibility of a forex broker isn’t very hard. There are regulatory agencies all over the world that separate the trustworthy from the fraudulent.

Below is a list of countries with their corresponding regulatory bodies:

  • United States: National Futures Association (NFA) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
  • United Kingdom: Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA)
  • Australia: Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC)
  • Switzerland: Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC)
  • Germany: Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFIN)
  • France: Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF)

Before even THINKING of putting your money in a broker, make sure that the broker is a member of the regulatory bodies mentioned above.

2. Transaction Cost

No matter what kind of currency trader you are, like it or not, you will always be subject to transaction costs.

Every single time you enter a trade, you will have to pay for either the forex spread or a commission so it is only natural to look for the most affordable and cheapest rates. Sometimes you may need to sacrifice low transaction for a more reliable broker.

Make sure you know if you need tight spreads for your type of trading, and then review your available options. It’s all about finding the correct balance between security and low transaction costs.

3. Deposit and Withdrawal

Good FX brokers will allow you to deposit funds and withdraw your earnings hassle-free. Brokers really have no reason to make it hard for you to withdraw your profits because the only reason they hold your funds is to facilitate trading.

Your broker only holds your money to make trading easier so there is no reason for you to have a hard time getting the profits you have earned. Your broker should make sure that the withdrawal process is speedy and smooth.

4. Trading Platform

In online forex trading, most trading activity happens through the brokers’ trading platform. This means that the trading platform of your broker must be user-friendly and stable.

When looking for a broker, always check what its trading platform has to offer.

Does it offer free news feed? How about easy-to-use technical and charting tools? Does it present you with all the information you will need to trade properly?

5. Execution

It is mandatory that your broker fill you in the best possible price for your orders.

Under normal market conditions (e.g. normal liquidity, no important news releases or surprise events), there really is no reason for your broker to not fill you at, or very close to, the market price you see when you click the “buy” or “sell” button.

For example, assuming you have a stable internet connection, if you click “buy” EUR/USD for 1.3000, you should get filled at that price or within micro-pips of it. The speed at which your orders get filled is very important, especially if you’re a scalper.

A few pips difference in price can make that much harder on you to win that trade.

6. Customer Service

Brokers aren’t perfect, and therefore you must pick a broker that you could easily contact when problems arise.

The competence of brokers when dealing with account or technical support issues is just as important as their performance on executing trades. Brokers may be kind and helpful during the account opening process, but have terrible “after sales” support.

How to Open a Forex Trading Account

After finding the right broker for you, you can open a forex trading account in three simple steps:

  • Selecting an account type
  • Registration
  • Activating your account

Before trading a dime of your hard earned money, you may want to think about opening demo account. Actually, open up two or three demos – why not? It’s all FREE! Try out several different brokers to get a feel for the right one for you.

Choosing an Account Type

When you’re ready to open a live account, you have to choose which type of forex trading account you want: a personal account or a business (aka corporate) account.

In the past, when opening a forex trading account, you’d also have to choose whether you wanted to open a “standard” account, a “mini” account, or a “micro” account.

Now, that isn’t much of a problem since most brokers allow you to trade custom lots. This is great for newbie and inexperienced traders who only have a small account of capital. This provides you great flexibility, as you won’t have to trade bigger than you’re comfortable with.

Also, always, always, always remember: Always read the fine print.

Some brokers have a “managed account” option in their application forms. If you want the broker to trade your account for you, you can pick this. But is this what you really want? After all, you didn’t read through the whole School of Pipsology just to have someone else trade for you!

Besides, opening a managed account requires a pretty big minimum deposit, normally $25,000 or higher. Also, the manager will also take a cut out of any profits.

Lastly, make sure you open a forex spot account and not a forwards or futures account.

Registration

You will have to submit paperwork in order to open an account and the forms will vary from broker to broker. They are usually provided in PDF format and can be viewed and printed using Adobe Acrobat Reader program.

Also, make sure you know all the associated costs, like how much your banks charges for a bank wire transfer. You’d be surprised how much these actually costs, and they may actually take up a significant portion of your trading capital.

Account Activation

Once the broker has received all the necessary paperwork, you should receive an email with instructions on completing your account activation. After these steps have been completed, you will receive a final email with your username, password, and instructions on how to fund your account.

So all that’s left is for you to login and start trading. Pretty easy huh?

Time to log in, pop open those charts, and start trading!

But wait just one minute

We strongly advise you DEMO trade first. There’s no shame in demo trading – everyone has to start somewhere.

If you have been demo trading for at LEAST six months, then maybe you can dip your feet into live trading. Even then, we suggest you go in the shallow end and consider how much you want to risk.

Trading live is a different beast altogether. It’s like the difference between sparring against your kid brother (or sister) and fighting Manny Pacquiao.

No matter how successful you were in demo trading, nothing can replace the feeling of having real money on the line.