Who are the Best U.S. Regulated Forex Brokers for U.S. Clients?
This Review covers 515 Data Points and filters down our 20 Best Global Forex Brokers into those of High Quality & Accepting Clients in the USA
Living in the U.S.A. and wanting to Trade Forex, but cannot find a good Forex Broker? There is a reason for that, there is a very limited choice.
What is Forex?
The Foreign Exchange Markets are by a long distance the biggest, most liquid markets in the world. Find out more by watching this 2-minute video.
Why Would I Want to Trade Forex?
Foreign Exchange Markets provide the following benefits over the stock market:
- Open 24 hours a day, 6 days per week – enables you to trade when you want to
- An ideal market for Day Traders or High-Frequency Trading as there are no daily trade limits imposed in the U.S., unlike the stock market.
- There is huge liquidity in the Forex market which means fast execution, low commissions, and tight spreads, lowering the cost per trade
Potential Downsides to FOREX Trading
Due to the small fluctuations in any given day between any 2 currencies, you will need to use leverage to make any significant profits. This can increase profits but also increase risks which potentially means you could lose your entire investment quicker than in the stock market. You need to manage leverage and cost of leverage effectively to stay in the game.
CFD Risk Notice - ESMA & FCA Risk Warning - "CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 80% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Capital at risk"
What do I need to look for in a good Forex Broker?
Dealing in Foreign Exchange and other derivatives can seem a somewhat complex, daunting and even a shady business for the new investor. It is therefore important that any Forex Broker you choose should:
- Be Well Regulated
- Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA) Membership.
- Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) Membership.
- National Futures Association (NFA) Registration.
- Have Transparent & Low Commission Structures
- Provide Low Margin Costs
- Have Good Access to Support
This review covers all these aspects and more.
So now to the Review.
The Forex Broker Review & Comparison
(Click to jump to section)
- Round 1: Forex Brokers FX & Crypto Currency Services – Evaluating the Pairs on Offer, Commissions, Margin Account Percentage Rates & Leverage Available.
- Round 2: Forex Broker Trading Software Comparison – Software Available, Costs and Quality
- Round 3: Forex Broker Customer Support, Research & Education – What support is on offer, do they provide original research and insight & is there free Forex education on offer
- Round 4: Forex Broker Account Funding, Company Background & Regulation – Is the company well established, well funded and well regulated?
- Round 5: Online Followers & Customer Complaints – What is the customer feedback and satisfaction on the web
- Winners Summary – Overall Review Winners
Round 1: U.S. Forex Brokers FX Pairs, Leverage & Interest Services
This section takes a look at:
- How Many Forex Pairs are on Available to trade
- Fx Commissions – are the Brokers Competitive
- Margin Account Percentage Rates
- What kind of leverage is available
The variance in commissions earned by Forex Brokers can be huge.
Commissions are either earned by Spreads, the difference between the Bid & Ask Price, or by a fixed commision on the trade (therefore lowering the spread). If you trade frequently it is vital you understand the commission structures and have low commissions to avoid slippage.
Round 1: U.S. Forex Brokers FX Pairs, Leverage & Interest – Summary
Forex.com offers a solid overall package offering the second best selection of Fx Pairs, 84 in total. All U.S. based Forex Brokers are limited by law to 50:1 leverage which means all brokers featured here have the same maximum leverage available. Forex.com also boasts the lowest spreads on the major Fx pairs starting at 1.4 pips which gives it a 5 Star ★★★★★ Rating.
Forex.com also has a very clear and simple approach to margin account interest charges, starting at a very low 0.5% for the largest traders and moving up to 10%.
Ally is in 2nd place in this round as it offers more Fx Pairs that TD Ameritrade and lower Margin Account interest rates. Although it only offers 52 Fx Pairs all the majors are covered. The Spread Commissions are also competitive at 1.7 pips.
Interactive Brokers offers the largest selection of Fx Pairs, 101, with a maximum 50:1 Leverage. The Fx commissions are fixed at $2.00 which should theoretically ensure lower spreads as commissions are not embedded in the spreads.
What is interesting about Interactive Brokers, is the incredibly attractive Margin Interest Charges. In fact, these seem to be the best in the industry, as they range from 2.2% for the largest traders to the 3% for the smaller traders.
So why is Interactive Brokers in position 3 on the list?
Well, the problem here, as you will find out later, is Interactive Brokers classify a smaller investor as have $10 Million on their account. So for the non-professional Fx Trader, Interactive Brokers is not really an option.
But if you have a large fund and are a professional Trader, Interactive Brokers is clearly the right choice.
TD Ameritrade is clearly angling at the private retail investor, as their range of services is not competitive enough for professional or highly experienced Foreign Exchange Traders. Only 24 Fx pairs are on offer and combine that with a 7.25% Margin Interest Rate for the biggest accounts, this is not such a great overall offering.
Oanda offers the third best selection of Fx pairs and a slightly lower spread commission of 1.6 pips for popular Fx pairs. However, we could not find any simple or clear explanation of the Margin account Interest Charges. There is an interest rate calculator app, but this makes it more complex for the trader.
Round 2: Fx Trading Platforms
As a frequent trader in Currencies, the quality and range of the software available are important. There is no point in having low trading costs and great margin interest rates if you cannot trade due to poor software. All of the Forex Brokers in this round offer their software for “No Cost” if you have an open active account. If you have a preference for the industry’s most established Forex Trading Packages like MetaTrader and Ninja Trader, then the choice will be clear.
Fx Trading Platforms Table
|Broker||Software||Mobile Software||Software Cost|
Web Trading (TradingView)
Forex Trader Web
Oanda Algo Lab
Round 2: Fx Trading Platforms Summary
Forex.com again takes the lead in this round, with the broadest selection of high-quality platforms available. The industry-leading Forex Trading Software is MetaTrader and Forex.com offer MetaTrader 4. Add to that the ability to plug in and use NinjaTrader, which has a massive and passionate user base who collaborate and contribute lots of systems. Also for the Web Trading Forex.com are utilizing TradingView. TradingView won our Best Stock Market Analysis Software Review, so you know you are getting a high-quality web trading system.
Forex.com win this round hands down.
TD Ameritrade takes second place due to their offering of ThinkorSwim. ThinkorSwim has been around for a very long time and is well respected in the industry. Super Powerful and a good integration into TD Ameritrade’s trading floor ensure a good experience.
Round 3: U.S. Forex Broker Customer Support, Research & Education
At 3 am in the morning you are trading USD/EUR and suddenly your trading software freezes, or your data feed stops. This is when a fast, 24/7 support team is vital.
So, what support is on offer, from our list of Brokers, both technical support and client support for account setup and funding/withdrawal requests)
Also important for those new to the markets and even experienced traders, is original market insights and analysis. So do our brokers provide original research and insight.
Lastly, for the less experienced trader, some free Forex education on offer would be a bonus.
However, the major Brokers do not have significant educational programs. To trade Forex well you need to have an extremely deep understanding of Technical Analysis. Technical Analysis is the analysis of supply and demand and the movement of price, usually through chart analysis.
You do have a number of options for learning Technical Analysis here at LiberatedStockTrader.com. You can self-learn through books or through a full video driven training course. Take a look at the best selection of Professional Technical Analysis Books. Or a full Professional Grade Training Course – all the Technical Analysis lessons in our PRO course are equally applicable to the Forex Markets.
U.S. Forex Brokers – Best Customer Service Table
Round 3: U.S. Forex Broker Customer Support, Research & Education Summary
Being the largest Forex Broker in the U.S. and having a business that is entirely focused on Foreign Exchange Trading, enables Forex.com to provide excellent resources in this area. Forex.com is owned by Gain Capital a global powerhouse in CFD & Forex Trading. The benefit here is that Forex.com clients will receive a wealth of market insights, market analysis, and market outlook communications throughout the day. The in-house team of Analysts at Gain Capital provide all the market insight you will need.
In terms of Customer Support, Forex.com offers a 24/7 Coverage, both over the phone, chat, and email. It is surprising that not all Forex Brokers offer this level of service.
Ally Invest also takes advantage of the Gain Capital Analyst Network (mentioned above) and can boast a superior market analysis and insight solution.
As with Forex.com, Ally Invest offers full 24/7 Telephone, chat and email support coverage.
Interactive Brokers, TD Ameritrade and Oanda offer less than 24/7 telephone coverage and do not heavily focus on detailed market analysis with in-house analysts, so if you are looking for market insights and inspiration in the Forex market they might not be the ideal choice.
Round 4: U.S. Regulated Forex Brokers
Is the company well established, well funded and well regulated? This is the main object of this round of comparisons.
Any U.S. based Broker of Derivatives and Forex should be a member of the following institutions.
Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA) Membership.
FINRA is a nonprofit organization established to protect investors and ensure that the members are complying with the law and the Securities and Exchange commision rules. They audit all members regularly.
Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) Membership.
The SIPC is there to protect and hopefully recover any money lost if a Brokerage firm fails. Although Broker failure is rare, it can happen and SIPC membership ensures that your account is protected up to $500,000.
National Futures Association (NFA) Registration.
Any Broker dealing with Foreign Exchange or other derivatives must be registered with the NFA. The NFA is a self-regulating industry body authorized by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). But we all know how well self-regulation has worked out for the financial services industry from the 2007 financial crisis.
Publicly Listed Company.
Also, it is ideal that any broker or financial institution, that you use be a publicly listed company. This provides transparency into the financial statements and the financial health of the company. You do not want to place you trading funds with a company that is close to or on the brink of bankruptcy.
U.S. Regulated Forex Brokers Table
Round 4: U.S. Regulated Forex Brokers Summary
In this section, all Brokers are registered with the National Futures Association, so no issue there. But there are a few differences in the other categories.
Forex.com is owned by Gain Capital, who are a registered corporation and floated on the NYSE Ticker:GCAP. They have been in operation for 17 years and have full FINRA membership and the SIPC Investor Protection. Also, you can open an account with a balance of $50, but of course you will need more than that to trade and take advantage of leverage.
Opening an account with Ally Invest, allows you to do more than trade Forex, they are an entire banking institution worth $12 USD Billion, providing also home loans, banking, auto leasing and credit cards. They also have been in business for 17 years, and are publicly listed on the NYSE Ticker:ALLY. Ally suggest you need a balance of $250 to open an account with them, which is completely reasonable. Full NFA, FINRA, and SIPC insure are also available.
If you are looking for more than simply Forex Trading, Ally Financial are competitive and indeed advantageous for all services offered. Quite often retail banks offer terrible deals for trading and investing compared to dedicated brokers, but this is not the case with Ally.
TD Ameritrade (TDA) formerly from Canadian Toronto Dominion Bank is a fully fledged publicly listed corporation trading on the NASDAQ Ticker:AMTD. With fully regulatory registration with the NFA, FINRA and SIPC insurance. It is the grandfather of online Brokers in business for 43 years established in 1975.
Interactive Brokers, Ticker:IBKR, is celebrating it’s 40th birthday this year and is publicly listed on the NASDAQ. What you might find interesting in the table above is that to trade Forex with Interactive Brokers you will need to fund your account to the tune of USD $10 Million.
This essentially shuts the door to non-professional traders.
Oanda has been in business for 25 years but is different from the other companies listed in this review as it is not publicly listed. It is held privately, and although it refers to itself as a corporation, it is not incorporated.
Also, most surprisingly I could not find any reference to Oanda in the FINRA or SIPC databases. Nor are these registrations mentioned on their website. This means you will have no investor protection insurance.
Round 5: U.S. Forex Broker Online Followers & Customer Complaints
Lastly, we look at what is the customer feedback and satisfaction on the web? To do this we scanned thousands of Tweets for the featured Brokers to look at any complaints registered. The great thing about twitter is that if you are not getting any response from a company’s customer services, you can voice your concern on Twitter and be heard by the world.
U.S. Forex Broker – Online Feedback Table
|Broker||Twitter Followers||Negative Tweets 3 months|
Round 5: U.S. Forex Broker Online Followers & Customer Complaints – Summary
Impressively with a following of 120,000 people, there is not a single complaint on Twitter in the last 3 months about Forex.com. This is a good sign of solid customer satisfaction. You can also see how active their analysts are as they post publicly insights multiple times per day.
Ally Invest and TD Ameritrade also score perfectly, with a combined following of 145,000 people there are zero complaints.
TD Ameritrade has had negative feedback on Trustpilot regarding the Mobile Apps and slow fund transfers. But I have used TD Ameritrade for 20 years and have no complaints.
Interactive Brokers with a monster following of 233,000 people fared less well with 5 customers tweeting in the last 3 months, complaining about their data feeds being down, and some bugs with the trading software. But considering the size of the company and number of customers they have this is still very low.
Finally, Oanda with a small following of only 17,000 people on Twitter has had 10 customers complaining on Twitter. The complaints were mostly about System Availability and Fund Transfers.
Results: Who are the Best Forex Brokers in U.S.A
Recommended for Individual Investors seeking a Best in Class Broker offering an excellent portfolio of Forex & Futures Trading vehicles, at competitive commissions, with top Analysts and Market Coverage.
As you can see from the 5 rounds of review, the clear winner is Forex.com. Their key advantage is specialization in Forex. They have the lowest starting spreads and highly competitive Margin Account Interest Rates.
They also have 84 Fx pairs to choose from and you can add Futures Trading on top of that.
Add to this list that they have the broadest selection of high-quality trading platforms available. The industry-leading Forex Trading Software is MetaTrader and Forex.com offer MetaTrader 4. Add to that the ability to plug in and use NinjaTrader, which has a massive and passionate user base who collaborate and contribute lots of systems. Also for the Web Trading Forex.com are utilizing TradingView.
A great package of specialized and competitive services.
Recommended Individual Investors seeking an excellent Broker for Forex Trading but also offering other Highly Competitive Services like Banking, Stock & Options Trading and Home Loans.
Ally was also a review winner on our Best Stock Broker Review. This means when you sign up with Ally you are getting excellent Stocks, Options, Futures and Forex Trading possibilities.
If you are looking for a simpler solution for your financial needs, Ally can bring them all together for you.
Recommended for Institutional Forex Traders or High Net Worth Individuals, who want the best selection of Forex Markets, the Best Commissions, and the Industry’s Lowest Margin Interest Rates.
Interactive Brokers is more than just a Forex Broker, they are THE BROKER.
Interactive Brokers was a review winner in our Stock Broker Review. They are competitive, if not industry leading in nearly every aspect of Brokerage Services. They have the most FX Pairs, allow access to the most global markets and are nearly always lowest cost.