When you feel you are ready to start trading currencies, you need to find a reliable Forex broker. First we should address exactly what a Forex broker is. A Forex broker is a firm or company that provides FX traders with access to a trading platform that enables them to buy and sell foreign currencies. Currency traders utilise these brokers in order to access the 24-hour Forex market. A currency trading broker, often referred to as a retail Forex broker, handles a very small portion of the overall volume of the foreign exchange market. FX brokers are mainly compensated through the 'bid-ask spread' of a currency pair.
Your first priority is to carry out research with the aim of discovering whether a broker possesses an exceptional reputation and whether they are able to meet your needs. The vast majority of the main Forex brokers will permit prospective clients to test their services with a practice or demo account, so that they can obtain a good understanding of what the system is actually like. It would be wise of you to test out as many platforms as you can prior to deciding on which broker to use. The purpose of the remainder of this article is to teach you how to choose a good Forex broker.
How important is regulatory compliance?
The first one thing you need to check when looking for trusted Forex brokers is regulatory compliance. For instance, in the US a reputable FX broker will be a member of the National Futures Association (or NFA) and will be officially registered with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as a futures commission merchant, as well as a retail foreign exchange dealer. Furthermore, the NFA is an industry-wide, entirely self-regulatory organisation for the futures industry in the USA. Its main functions are to develop rules, programs and also services to provide protect the market and it's participants. Beside that, it is there to ensure members meet regulatory responsibilities and certain obligations. The CFTC is a fully independent government agency whose function is to regulate the commodity futures and options markets in the USA. The primary mission of the CFTC is to protect market users and the public from any kind of manipulation, fraud and abusive practices related to the sale of commodities and financial futures and options. It also aims to stimulate open, competitive and financially sound option markets and futures.
If you look for Forex brokers online, a professional looking website does not guarantee that the broker is an NFA member or under CFTC regulation, and the same goes with the according institutions in the country of your residence if not in the US. If a broker is a member of the National Futures Association and subject to specific CFTC regulations they will state this, and its NFA member number will be displayed on its website, most commonly in the about us section and as well as on every web page. As previously mentioned, each country outside the USA has its own regulatory body. Owing to potential concerns regarding the safety of particular deposits and the integrity of the broker, all accounts should only be opened with companies that are properly regulated.
How to Trade in Forex | Step by Step Forex Trading Guide
The Forex (foreign exchange) market, sometimes referred to as the currency market, is much larger than the stock market. To gain some perspective, it would take thirty days worth of trading volume on the largest stock market platform, the New York Stock Exchange, to equal a single day of Forex trading. Additionally, the global currency market is open for business 24 hours per day, five days per week. This liquidity and access is an obvious lure to traders looking to build their portfolio quickly. Keep in mind there is a fortune to be made and lost with Forex. Before you open an account and start taking trades, do yourself a favor. Learn how to trade in Forex first. Here’s a good start with the following critical Forex trading tips.
Step One: Choose a Broker
As opposed to markets like the major stock exchanges, the Forex market is famously, decentralized, wide open, and unregulated. This means you must be extra careful when choosing a broker. There are plenty of legitimate ones to choose from, but watch out for the fly-by-nighters who open a snazzy looking website, scam a bunch of deposit money from new investors, and disappear. Trust us, it can happen. You best bet is to find a busy Forex forum and ask for input from veteran traders about which brokers they prefer.
After narrowing your list down, research which ones belong to voluntary regulatory agencies like the CFTC and NFA in the United States, the FSA in England, and the ASIC in Australia. While brokers are not required to maintain a membership in any organization, those who want to be perceived as credible, do so.
Step Two: Open a Demo Account
The scary and amazing thing about Forex trading is you can do everything from the comfort of your own home. If you have a good internet connection (we’ll talk about VPS Forex hosting in a minute – it’s critical for successful traders) and sound money management techniques, you could become one of the small percentage who become filthy rich.
The best advice we can offer out of the gate is to practice with a demo account before risking real money. Most legitimate brokers offer demo accounts for anywhere from 30 days to infinity. This allows you to practice strategies under real world conditions but without risking real money. When it comes to understanding Forex trading, using a demo account should be mandatory. Keep in mind you’re trading against seasoned pros who spend all day, every day taking money from amateurs. You don’t want to go toe-to-toe with them until you know the game.
Step Three: Are You a Technical or Fundamental Trader?
In general, Forex traders fall into two categories. The first relies on technical analysis (TA). The second on fundamental analysis (FA). Don’t get too caught up in the details. The difference is easy to understand. With TA, a trader analyzes price movement by watching how it reacts to a variety of indicators he or she puts on their computer screen. Decisions to buy or sell depend upon mathematical calculations done behind-the-scenes within the indicators. As you can see, TA traders pay attention only what price action tells them at any moment in time. On the other hand, FA traders study the underlying economic and political factors at work within and between countries. At its foundation, a currency trade involves exchanging the currency of one country for another. The factors that affect a country’s economic health – GDP, unemployment, housing, political stability – are used to assess the relative strength or weakness of its currency.
Step Four: Hosting for Forex
Probably the most important among these Forex trading tips is related to your internet connection. It does make a difference what type of hosting account you choose. In all instances, a Forex trader should consider VPS for Forex hosting. And, yes, it does make a difference. Successful Forex trading is a game measured in seconds. It is imperative you trade through a connection that does not crash, hang-up, or expose you to a severe latency delay. A Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting account insures that you have access to the critical system resources – memory, RAM, bandwidth – when you need them and won’t be forced to share them with hundreds (or thousands) of other customers.
How to Become a Forex Trader
Anyone with a little money and patience can become a Forex trader. However, the skill and patience required to become a successful or profitable trader requires limiting losses while identifying good trade set ups with a positive risk: reward set up. Despite the ease of getting into the business, there are a few steps you should follow. A hasty entrance into Forex trading can lead to the poor house very quickly.
Let's examine the steps for becoming a Forex trader.
01 Trading Capital
stacks of newly printed money
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Forex traders do not need to have a lot of capital to trade due to being able to trade on margin. The average Forex broker requires at least $300 to open an account and start trading. A good rule of thumb is to have at least $1000 to open a mini account, preferably $2000.
This number might sound a little high for beginners, but this will allow you to trade with a bit of a buffer in case of losses. You're not looking to risk the entire amount but rather just have a higher cushion so that you're not forced out of a trade, which can happen with smaller balances.
02 Using A Demo Account
A forex trading demo account is an a trading account with monopoly money in it that is connected to the live market. Trades can be placed in real time and represent what would be true losses and gains if the money were real.
Before you put 1 penny on the line with trading, you'll need some practice. A demo account will give you the ability to practice trading without the pressure.
03 How to Practice FX Trading Before Trading Live
Aside from practicing, you may want to seek some trading advice from a forex trainer or forex books. As a trader you will need to develop your own style and trading ideas, but in the beginning, it can be helpful to have some professional direction and recommendations. Forex is very daunting in the early days and some guidance can really help.
04 How Trend Traders Find Profit Targets on Their Trade
Before you actually commit to live trading and money on the line, you should be able to profitably trade on your demo account or with paper trading. Your track record should be more than a few weeks, at least 3 months, preferably 6 months.
It will be difficult to refrain from trading after you make those first few profitable trades, but experience really counts in forex trading. It's something that you cannot work around, you have to get it the old fashioned way, hard work.
The Most Important Criteria for the Forex & CFD Broker
Forex broker Regulation – It is important to open an account with a regulated broker.
Trading Platform – Choose a broker that offers Forex & CFD trading on the platform you are most comfortable with, and that fits your needs. Check out our state-of-the-art MetaTrader 4 & 5 Supreme Edition platform!
Spreads – There's nothing wrong about searching for a broker with the lowest spreads, but watch out for marketing techniques. A lower spread advertised on the website does not necessarily mean that you will continuously have the spread.
Besides, there are ECN and STP accounts on which you pay commission to the broker. Finding the cheapest Forex broker is finding out a combination of spread, execution quality, commission, and swap. Looking for a competitive Forex broker that only offers low spreads is not necessarily the best idea, as a displayed average spread does not guarantee this spread when you place the order.
Order Execution Quality and Slippage – Having low spreads is right, having orders executed at the asking price is even better.
Allows for Scalping – If you are looking for the best Forex broker in the EU, be aware that a good broker does not put limits on trading styles. A scalping broker has no minimum distance to respect between the market price and the stop-loss and take-profit.
Forex broker with No Dealing Desk or Dealing Desk – Depending on your strategy, you may opt to choose an ECN, STP, or No Dealing Desk broker.
Fund Security – Choose a Forex broker with bank accounts in Europe, in particular, with segregated bank accounts.
Different Types of Trading Accounts – A good broker should offer you several types of accounts: ECN, STP, or accounts with spread reductions for more substantial deposits. See our Account Types and Deposits and Withdrawals section.
Optional Leverage – Forex is a market that is often traded with leverage. To manage a trading position well, being able to choose leverage is very important.
Diversification of Trading Instruments – It is always exciting to be able to invest in several markets at the same time. A good choice is to work with a Forex broker that offers a wide variety of markets to trade, such as CFDs on indices, commodities, stocks, cryptocurrencies bonds, or ETFs.
Customer Service – Having a broker who cares for its customers is much more practical and reassuring for traders.