If you want to trade currencies from the comfort of your home – you will need to sign up with a UK forex broker. In this guide, we help point you in the right direction by reviewing some of the popular UK forex brokers of 2021. We also explore the many metrics that you need to look out for when you compare forex brokers.
Popular Forex Brokers in the UK 2022
If you want to read about the popular UK forex brokers in more detail, continue reading this guide. If you’re just looking for a quick summary of the popular brokers currently on the market, check out the list below.
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 popular 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 meets your needs.
The UK’s Popular Forex Brokers in 2021
As noted above, there are hundreds of UK forex brokers competing for your business. This is valuable 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 popular UK forex brokers in 2021.
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 purchase 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 purchasing 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. In terms of features, eToro offers a plethora of chart reading tools and educational resources. You may also make use of its Copy Trading feature. This allows you to copy the purchase 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 $50 minimum deposit, which you may 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|
67% of retail investors lose money trading CFDs at this site
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 may trade, Libertex offers dozens of majors, minors, and exotics. You have the option to 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 Libertex, it takes just a couple of minutes to open an account. Users 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.
75.3% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
3. Fineco Bank
This Italian financial institution is one of the most respected Forex brokers within the European region, and the UK traders are having their exclusive space into the business.
Fineco Bank offers CFDs on shares, forex with over 50 currency pairs available, and indices, plus UK and international shares. Traders can also take advantage of the options trading availability that it offers on S&P, Nasdaq, Dow Jones, and Russell, as well as the futures market. There are no fees to trade shares CFDs, and index CFDs have spreads as low as 0.4 pips, making them competitive among others of the likes of Saxo Bank and CMC Markets.
One key feature in terms of regulatory affairs is that Fineco Bank is heavily scrutinized by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), who granted them a license.
You can sign up to Fineco and get 100 free trades today with the code FIN100-AD.
Your capital is at risk
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 may 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 suitable for chasing small profit margins. You may 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 popular forex brokers in the UK, 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 of inactivity|
73.05% of retail investors lose money when trading CFDs at this site
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. Notably, IG allows you to access each of its supported pairs in a commission-free manner. You will also find some 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 of inactivity|
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 on 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, combining low spreads and a zero-commission policy – 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.
Capital.com also provides a forex spread betting facility. 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 have the chance to fund with a debit/credit card, e-wallet, or bank account. The platform is in full receipt of an FCA license.
79.17% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
How to Compare Forex Brokers
So now that you have had a chance to review the popular 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 sensible 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 strong regulatory standing. As a UK trader – at the forefront of this is a fully-fledged licensed with the Financial Conduct Authority (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 popular 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 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 popular 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 have the option to 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 straightforward investing 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 popular 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 popular 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.
An 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.
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 popular 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 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 some of the popular UK forex brokers active in the market – as well as the considerations that you need to make when choosing a platform yourself, we are going to show you how to get started with a trading account today.
The registration process is similar across most of the popular forex brokers, so you can follow this 4-step process for your chosen broker of choice.
Step 1: Create an Account
Getting started takes a matter of minutes. Simply make your way to your brokerage’s website and begin the sign-up process. This will open a sign-up form and you’ll be required to enter your name, email address, as well as choose a username and password for your new trading account.
Step 2: Verifiy Your Identity
Users may be required to complete a simple KYC process, if they invest with a regulated broker. Upload a copy of your passport or driving license as proof of identity, and a copy of a recent utility bill or bank statement as proof of address.
Step 3: Deposit Funds
With a fully verified account, you’re one step closer to start trading a range of assets with the click of a button. Depending on the broker you choose, you can transfer funds using a debit card, credit card, bank wire transfer, as well as e-wallets such as PayPal, Neteller and Skrill.
Choose your preferred payment method and deposit your funds into the account.
Step 4: Trade Forex
Once your account has been funded, head on to the different markets and click on ‘currencies’. ‘Trade Markets’ button, which you will find on the left-hand side of the page. Then, click on ‘Currencies’.You will now see a long list of currency pairs that can be traded on your platform.
On you have chosen your preferred pair, you will then need to click on the ‘Trade’ button.
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 have a firm overview of what the popular UK forex brokers of 2021 offer. The platforms that we have discussed all facilitate commission-free trades, heaps of tradable pairs, and a vast selection of payment methods. Most importantly, they are all regulated by the FCA.