If you want to trade currencies from the comfort of your home – you will need to sign up with a UK forex broker. There are hundreds of platforms active in the space, so you need to spend some time assessing which broker best meets your needs.
This should include a set of minimum requirements – such as low fees and commissions, heaps of tradable pairs, and a good number of chart reading tools. Of course – you also need to ensure the broker is regulated by the FCA.
In this guide, we help point you in the right direction by discussing the best UK forex brokers of 2021. We also explore the many metrics that you need to look out when you compare forex brokers.
Top 5 Forex Brokers in the UK 2021
If you want to read about the best UK forex brokers in more detail, continue reading this guide. If you’re just looking for a quick summary of the top brokers currently on the market, check out the list below.
- eToro – Best all round UK forex broker with low fees
- Libertex – Forex broker with ZERO spreads
- Capital.com – New forex broker with low minimum deposit
- FXCM – Established forex broker with MT4
- IG – Forex broker with almost 100 currency pairs
What is a Forex Broker?
Put simply, a forex broker is a third-party platform that allows you to trade currencies. Much like a traditional stock broker, the platform in question will require you to open an account and deposit some funds.
After that, you will be able to trade forex pairs at the click of a button. When you place an order, it will need to be matched by another user of the platform.
This is because the forex broker is merely in place to match orders between buyers and sellers.
- Let’s say that you wish to place a buy order on GBP/USD
- You want to stake £1,000 at a buy price of 1.2760
- In order for your trade to go live, somebody will need to place a sell order
- Not only does this need to cover the full £1,000 stake, but at a price of 1.2760
Once your order has been executed by the forex broker, there will be both winners and losers. In other words, if you make £100 from the trade, then in theory – somebody else will need to lose £100.
Irrespective of which way the markets go, the forex broker will make money. This is because brokers charge something known as the ‘spread’, which is the difference between the buy and sell price of a forex pair.
On top of facilitating buy and sell orders, the best UK forex brokers will:
- Verify the identity of all traders to ensure it remains compliant with anti-money laundering laws
- Process deposits and withdrawals
- Ensure that trading conditions mirror that of the real-world forex market
- Offer leverage and margin trading facilities
- Provide technical analysis tools and features
- Host educational resources
- Offer top-notch customer support
Crucially, with so many UK forex brokers active in the space, knowing which platform to sign up with can be challenging. This is why you need to spend some time researching a broker that best meets your needs.
The UK’s Best Forex Brokers in 2021
As noted above, there are hundreds of UK forex brokers competing for your business. This is great for you as a trader, as brokers are being forced to get more and more competitive. Not only does this include a reduction in fees and commissions, but also a more comprehensive offering of tradable currency pairs.
To save you countless hours of research, below you will find a selection of the best UK forex brokers in 2021.
1. eToro – Best All-Round UK Forex Broker
eToro is an online trading platform that covers a variety of assets. It does, of course, also offer a fully-fledged forex trading facility. This includes heaps of pairs across the majors, minors, and exotics. eToro is also famous for allowing its users to buy shares with 0% commission.
Getting starting at eToro is a breeze, and the platform is highly conducive for newbie traders. This is because the broker is tailored to those that have little to no experience of trading forex. When it comes to fees, you will not pay any trading commissions when buying and selling forex pairs. You will, however, need to take the spread into account, as well as overnight financing when keeping a position open past market hours. This is industry-standard nonetheless.
Furthermore, eToro does not charge anything in the way of monthly or annual account maintenance. Deposits do come with a small currency conversion fee of 0.5%, as the entire platform is denominated in US dollars. Withdrawals cost just $5, which is great. In terms of features, eToro offers a plethora of chart reading tools and educational resources. You can also make use of its Copy Trading feature. This allows you to copy the buy and sell orders of an experienced forex trader.
We should also note that eToro offers leverage facilities. If you’re a UK retail trader, this allows you to apply leverage of up to 1:30 on major pairs, and 1:20 on minors and exotics. If you want to get started at eToro right now, it takes just minutes to set up an account. You will need to meet a $200 minimum deposit, which you can do with a UK debit/credit card, bank account, or e-wallet. The platform is regulated by the FCA and partnered with the FSCA. It also holds licenses with CySEC and ASIC.
|Deposit Fee||0.5% currency conversion fee|
|Inactivity fees||$10 a month after 12 months inactivity|
- Super user-friendly online forex broker
- Trade forex without tight spreads
- You can also trade stocks, indices, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, and more
- Deposit funds with a debit/credit card, e-wallet, or UK bank account
- Social and copy trading
- Accepts PayPal
- FCA and FSCS protections
- Not suitable for advanced traders that like to perform technical analysis
67% of retail investors lose money trading CFDs at this site
2. Libertex – Low-Cost Forex Broker with ZERO Spreads
If you’re an experienced forex trader then you will know that spreads are part and parcel of trading currencies online. After all, this is a sure-fire guarantee that the broker in question makes money irrespective of which way the markets go.
However, Libertex is revolutionary in the sense that it charges no spreads whatsoever. Instead, this hugely popular forex broker opts for a small, transparent commission structure. The specific commission will depend on which forex pair you are trading, albeit, this usually sits between 0% and 0.5%.
In terms of what pairs you can trade, Libertex offers dozens of majors, minors, and exotics. You can trade your preferred currencies via the Libertex website or through its mobile app. Additionally, this forex broker allows you to trade via MT4.
This will be ideal if you want to deploy a forex EA. If you like the sound of Libetex, it takes just a couple of minutes to open an account. You can instantly deposit funds with a debit/credit card and several e-wallets. This forex broker is regulated by CySEC and has been offering trading services for over two decades.
- Zero spread CFD trading
- Good educational resources
- Long established broker
- Compatible with MT4
- Competitive spreads
- Only offers CFDs
83% of retail investors lose money trading CFDs at this site.
3. Capital.com – Best Forex Trading Platform UK for Low Minimum Deposit
Capital.com is a popular online forex broker that also covers alternative asset classes. This includes stocks, commodities, cryptocurrencies, and indices – all via CFDs. Each and every financial instrument at the platform can be traded commission fee. Additionally, Capital.com is known for offering some of the tightest spreads in the space.
For example, pairs like EUR/USD and AUD/USD can be traded at spreads of just 0.6 pips. GBP/USD and EUR/GBP are also competitive at just 0.8 pips. Crucially, by combining low spreads and a zero-commission policy – this ensures that you are able to trade currencies in a cost-effective environment.
Taking a closer look at the forex department, you will have access to heaps of pairs of all shapes and sizes. In particular, Capital.com is strong when it comes to exotic and volatile currencies. This includes everything from EUR/TRY, PLN/TRY, and ZAR/JPY. All currency pairs at the broker can be traded with leverage – with the usual 1:30 / 1:20 caps in place for UK clients.
We also like the spread betting facility hosted at Capital.com – which covers forex. In a nutshell, this allows you to avoid capital gains tax on your forex trades, as well as stamp duty. You can also apply leverage and you will still benefit from zero commissions and tight spreads. In terms of getting started, Capital.com requires a minimum deposit of just £20, which you can fund with a debit/credit card, e-wallet, or bank account. The platform is in full receipt of an FCA license.
- Educational app for new traders
- AI assistant identifies your weak points
- Trade ideas generated daily
- Excellent charting and analysis interface
- £20 minimum deposit
- Cannot build custom trading strategies
72.6% of retail investors lose money trading CFDs at this site.
4. FXCM – Best Forex Trading Platform UK for MetaTrader 4
FXCM is one of the most established online forex brokers in the UK trading scene. Launched way back in 1999, it has been serving traders of all shapes, sizes, and budget levels for over two decades. One of the most notable aspects of using FXCM is that it gives you unfettered access to MT4.
If you’re an experienced currency trader, then you will know first-hand that this is the most popular third-party platform in the space. It comes jam-packed with tools and features. This includes chart reading and drawing tools, customizable trading screens, multi-charts, and even the ability to install forex robots.
You can access MT4 via the FXCM website or by downloading the software to your desktop device. You can also trade via the MT4 app. Once installed, you simply need to enter your FXCM login details. Additionally, all three mediums allow you to trade on MT4 via an FXCM demo account. This is ideal if you want to learn how forex trading works before making a financial commitment. It will also allow you to test out new trading strategies in a risk-free environment.
In terms of the fundamentals, FXCM is a commission-free forex broker. Spreads are tight too, which is great for chasing small profit margins. You can get started with a low deposit of just £50. Supported payment methods include debit/credit cards, a bank wire, and several e-wallets. As is the case with all of the top forex brokers in the UK that we recommend, FXCM is a fully-licensed FCA platform. As such, you should no concerns regarding the safety of your funds.
|Inactivity fees||$50 a year after 12 months inactivity|
- Supports MetaTrader 4 and Ninja Trader
- A long-established and reputable broker
- FCA Licensed
- Mobile trading app
- Tight spreads
- CFDs only
- Less shares than other brokers
73.05% of retail investors lose money when trading CFDs at this site
5. IG – Trusted Forex Broker With Almost 100 Currency Pairs
IG is one of the most-recognized brokerage firms in the UK trading arena. It was first launched in 1974 – way before the growth of the online forex industry. These days, the IG online trading platform is highly extensive. The firm offers everything from share dealing services to CFD trading, and even spread betting. When it comes to its forex department, you will have access to almost 100 currency pairs.
This includes all majors and minors, as well as heaps of exotics. This ensures that you have a trading pair to mirror your appetite for risk. Best of all, IG allows you to access each of its supported pairs in a commission-free manner. You will also find some super-competitive forex spreads at the platform. For example, EUR/USD and AUD/USD can be traded at 0.6 pips, and USD/JPY at 0.7 pips. GBP/USD and EUR/GBP can both be traded from just 0.9 pips.
Take note, the aforementioned pips are the minimum spreads available, meaning that you might pay slightly more outside of standard market hours – or if the markets are more volatile than usual. IG also offers leverage facilities in-line with ESMA limits. This means 1:30 on majors and 1:20 on minors/exotics if you’re a retail client. If you are a professional trader, you can trade with leverage of up to 1:200.
Much like in the case of Capital.com, using the spread betting facility at IG will allow you to shield your profits from capital gains tax. In terms of getting started at IG, you will need to meet a minimum deposit of £250. Supported payment methods include a debit/credit card or bank transfer. If opting for a credit card, you will incur a 0.5% charge with MasterCard and 1% with Visa. Finally, IG is licensed by multiple bodies – including the FCA.
|Deposit Fee||Free (unless using a credit card)|
|Inactivity fees||£12 a month after 2 years inactivity|
- Trusted UK broker with a long-standing reputation
- Leverage and short-selling also available
- Spread betting and CFD products
- Access to UK and international markets
- Great research department
- Minimum deposit of £250
How to Compare Forex Brokers and Pick the Best Broker for You
So now that you have had a chance to review the best forex brokers in the UK market, we now need to show you what to look out for when choosing a platform yourself.
After all, it’s always a good idea to take a closer look at a broker before opening an account. Alternatively, you might come across a forex broker that we haven’t covered and thus – you wish to perform additional research.
With that in mind, below you will find the most important metrics to look out for when picking a forex broker that meets your needs.
Regulation – Choosing FCA Regulated Forex Brokers
Like with stock trading, your first port of call will be to ensure that the forex broker has a good regulatory standing. As a UK trader – at the forefront of this is a fully-fledged licensed with the Financial Conduct Authorty (FCA).
This will ensure that:
- All client funds are held in segregated bank accounts. This means that your money is kept separate from the broker’s working capital.
- All new account registrants are verified. This ensures that the platform complies with UK anti-money laundering laws.
- The broker is audited on a regular basis.
- Your data is kept safe and away from the wrong hands
- The risks of trading forex are made clear to all clients
In the vast majority of cases, if the forex broker is licensed by the FCA, you will find its registration number towards the bottom of the website. If not, it might be worth searching the FCA register to be 100% sure.
You then need to explore what forex pairs the broker allows you to trade. This can vary from a couple of dozen right up to a hundred or more. In most cases, you will find that the forex broker offers most major and minor pairs.
This is because these are the most traded and liquid pairs in the forex scene. These pairs also come with the highest spreads and lowest volatility levels. As such, they are ideal for newbie forex traders.
At the other end of the spectrum, exotic pairs are far more volatile and come with wider spreads. While the risks are higher, you stand the chance of yielding much larger profit margins.
With this in mind, it’s best to avoid exotic pairs if you are a complete novice. Ultimately, if you have a particular pair in mind that you like to trade, make sure the broker supports it before signing up.
Of course, fees should play a major role in your hunt for the best UK forex brokers. After all, fees will eat into your potential trading profits, so you’ll want to keep them to a minimum.
Taking into account just how complex forex broker fee schedules can be, below we have outlined the most common charges that you need to look out for before signing up.
Forex Trading Commission
This is the most important fee to look out for. Crucially, if your chosen UK broker does charge a trading commission, you will need to pay it every time you place an order.
- If you are required to pay 0.5% per ‘slide’, this means that you will pay 0.5% when you enter a trade, and again when you exit it.
- So, on an initial stake of £1,000, your entry commission would amount to £5
- If you exit the trade when the order is worth £1,200, you would then pay a commission of £6
The good news is that all of the UK’s best forex brokers that we have recommended on this page are commission-free. This isn’t the case with all platforms in the industry though, so be sure to explore this before opening an account.
The spread is simply the difference between the buy and sell price of a forex pair. As we noted earlier, this is how the forex broker in question ensures that it always makes money.
When assessing whether or not a broker is competitive in this department, you’ll likely want to stick with platforms that offer a spread of below 1 pip on majors and minors. Anything more than this and you are likely overpaying.
You should also explore what non-trading fees are in play.
This might include:
- Deposit and Withdrawal Fees: Some online forex brokers charge a fee when you make a deposit and/or withdrawal. This is sometimes a flat fee, or expressed as a percentage.
- Currency Conversion Fees: Some UK forex brokers charge a currency conversion fee. This is because you will likely be trading forex pairs that are not denominated in GBP.
- Inactivity Fee: This particular fee is charged when you do not use your forex trading account for a number of months. For example, if you do not place a trade for 12 months, you might be charged £10. Your account will then be charged £10 every month until you place a trade, or your account balance goes to zero.
As you can see from the above, there are many fees to consider when choosing a forex broker. This is why the research process is so important.
Leverage allows you to trade with more money than you have in your account. The vast bulk of top UK forex brokers offer leverage facilities. In fact, if you are a UK retail client, then your leverage limits will likely remain constant across all brokers.
This is because – for the time being, UK forex platforms are required to comply with the laws implemented by European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).
In a nutshell, this means that you can trade major forex pairs (e.g EUR/USD) at leverage limits not exceeding 1:30. So, a £100 stake would permit a maximum trade size of £3,000. If trading minors (e.g. EUR/GBP) or exotics (e.g. EUR/TRY), then your leverage limits will be capped at 1:20.
The only way to obtain higher leverage limits than this is to prove to the forex broker that you are a professional trader. If you are, then you can often obtain limits in excess of 1:200.
If you think that you will be able to make money from the forex markets without utilizing trading tools – think again. After all, how else will you be able to determine which way a particular forex pair is likely to move? Otherwise, you are simply relying on luck. As a result, seasoned forex traders will make full use of technical indicators.
This includes the likes of 50 and 200-day moving averages, Bollinger bands, MACD, relative strength index, and dozens more.
In addition to technical indicators, you should also ensure that your chosen UK forex broker offers chart reading tools.
If you are a complete novice in the world of online forex trading, then you will need to ensure that the broker offers a smooth and user-friendly experience. This should start at the very offset during the account opening and deposit process, as well as finding your preferred trading pair. Of course, the process of placing orders and performing chart analysis should also be seamless.
Research and Education
The best UK forex brokers will offer a comprehensive research department. This might include live webinars, market insights, real-time fundamental news, and in-depth expert analysis.
In the case of educational resources, it’s always useful when forex brokers offer user-friendly guides and explainers on key forex terms. For example, the broker might offer guides on how to deploy a forex trading strategy or create a risk management system.
If you are planning to trade forex with real money, then you will need to deposit and withdraw funds with a payment method that suits you. Most of the best forex brokers in the UK that we have discussed on this page support debit and credit card deposits, as well as a bank transfer. E-wallets are sometimes an option too. This might include Paypal, Skrill, or Neteller.
The customer service department is often overlooked by newbie forex traders. We prefer it when the top forex brokers in the UK offer customer support on a 24/7 basis. This way, you will always have access to support night and day. In terms of support channels, the easiest way to make contact is via live chat.
Email is also an option, albeit, response times will not be instant. Alternatively, your chosen forex broker might offer a dedicated telephone support line. If they do, we prefer toll-free numbers. That way, you can receive support in real-time without being hit with telephone charges.
Best Forex Brokers for Beginners
If you are looking for the best forex brokers for beginners, you’ll want to choose a platform that allows you to trade with ease. There should be no over-bearing ‘bells and whistles’, nor should it be difficult to navigate yourself through the broker’s website. With that in mind, the most user-friendly forex broker serving UK clients is arguably eToro.
The platform tailors its services to newbie traders, meaning that you do not need to have any experience to get started. Best of all, eToro offers a demo account facility. Put simply, this means that you can trade with a ‘paper money’ balance of $100,000.
The demo facility will mirror real-world trading facilities, which is crucial if you are looking to understand how the markets work before risking your own capital. Alternatively, Capital.com is also regarded as a good forex broker for beginners. On top of offering a simple trading interface, the platform hosts heaps of educational resources.
Forex Options Brokers
Some online brokers allow you to trade forex ‘options’. For those unaware, options are highly complex financial derivatives that allow you to speculate on the future value of an asset by paying a small premium. If your prediction is correct, you will make money.
There is no cap to the amount of money that you can make, as your gains will depend on the gap between the ‘call/put’ price of your options contract with that of the price in which the contract is settled. If your speculation is incorrect, then you simply lose the premium that you paid to execute the contract.
If you are looking for the best forex options brokers servicing UK clients, it might be worth checking out the platforms listed below:
- Saxo Bank
- CMC Markets
- Interactive Brokers
- Ava Trade
If you are still a newbie forex trader, then we would suggest staying away from options. This is because they are best suited to those who understand sophisticated financial products.
How to Get Started with a UK Forex Broker
So now that you have had a chance to digest the best UK forex brokers active in the market – as well as the considerations that you need to make when choosing a platform yourself, we are now going to show you how to get started with a trading account today.
Although the registration process is similar across most of the best forex brokers, the guidelines below are based on eToro, which is our pick for the best forex trading platform in the UK.
Step 1: Open an Account and Upload ID
All FCA regulated forex brokers in the UK require you to open an account and verify your identity. To get the ball rolling, head over to the eToro website.
You will then be asked for some personal information, such as your full name, home address, date of birth, national insurance number, contact details, username and password
In terms of ID, eToro will ask you for two documents. This includes a passport of driver’s license (proof of identity) and a recently issued bank account statement or utility bill (proof of address)
eToro typically verifies identity documents within minutes.
Step 2: Deposit Funds
You will now be asked to deposit some funds. At eToro, the minimum deposit stands at $200 – which is about £160.
Supported payment methods include debit card, credit card, Paypal, Skrill, Neteller, and bank transfer. Apart from a bank transfer, all deposits are credited to your account instantly.
Step 3: Trade Forex
Once your account has been funded, you can then click on the ‘Trade Markets’ button, which you will find on the left-hand side of the page. Then, click on ‘Currencies’. As per the below, you will now see a long list of currency pairs that can be traded at eToro.
On you have chosen your preferred pair, you will then need to click on the ‘Trade’ button.
You will now see an order box for your chosen forex pair.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Choose from a buy or sell order
- Enter your total stake
- Select your leverage ratio (if applicable)
- Set up a stop-loss and take-profit order
- Confirm the order
Once your order is placed, it will remain active until your stop-loss or take-profit order is triggered, or you close it manually.
Trading currencies online must be facilitated through a forex broker. There are many brokers active in this segment of the financial markets, so there is a platform to suit most needs.
By reading through our guide in full, you should now have a firm overview of what the best UK forex brokers of 2021 offer. The platforms that we have discussed all facilitate commission-free trades, heaps of tradable pairs, and a good selection of payment methods. Most importantly, they are all regulated by the FCA.
With that said, eToro pips it for us as the best UK forex broker currently in the market. On top of 0% commissions, you’ll benefit from tight spreads, nearly 50 currency pairs, and a super user-friendly trading experience.
eToro – Best All Round UK Forex Broker
67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
How do forex brokers make money?
Forex brokers typically make money from two revenue streams. Firstly, they might make money by charging a commission. This will be charged every time you enter and exit a trade, and is typically calculated as a percentage against your total order size. Secondly, forex brokers make money from the spread - which is difference between the buy and sell price of a currency pair.
How do forex brokers work?
Forex brokers sit between buyers and sellers of a currency pair. They are there to facilitate trades and ensure that there is enough liquidity to cover orders.
Are UK forex brokers regulated?
Yes, the vast majority of UK forex brokers are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authorty (FCA). You do, however, need to check that this is the case before opening an account.
What is the most-traded forex pair?
The most-traded forex pair is EUR/USD.
How do you deposit funds into a forex broker?
Most of the UK's top forex brokers will accept a debit/credit card or bank wire. Some platforms even accept e-wallets such as Paypal and Skrill.