It’s not always easy to know what to look for in a broker in any market, much less a market as complex as the FOREX. But, if you want to trade in FOREX you need a broker. While it might be tempting to simply ask the brokers what they can do for you, you can’t always depend on them to give you a straight answer. Here are a few things to consider when choosing your broker.
You will want a broker that has low spreads. Since FOREX brokers don't charge a commission, this difference is how they make money. Low spreads will save you money.
Along with this, you should be looking for a broker attached to a reputable institution.
Unlike equity brokers, FOREX brokers are usually attached to large banks or lending institutions. The broker should also be registered with the Futures Commission Merchant (FCM) as well as regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to brokers that won’t cost you too much, and that are reputable, consider the trading tools that they are offering you. FOREX brokers have many different trading platforms for their clients, just like brokers in other markets. These often show real-time charts, technical analysis tools, real-time news and data, and may even offer support for the various trading systems.
Before you commit to any one broker, request free trials of their tools. Brokers generally provide technical as well as fundamental commentaries, economic calendars, and other research to help you make good trades. Shop around until you find a broker who will give you what you need to succeed.
The next item that you will need to evaluate carefully is the number of leverage options your potential broker has. Leverage is a necessity in FOREX trading because the price deviations in the currencies are set at fractions of a cent. Leverage is expressed as a ratio between the total capital that is available to be traded and your actual capital. For example, when you have a ratio of 100:1, your broker will lend you $100 for every $1 of actual capital you have. Many brokerage firms will offer you as much as 250:1. If you have low levels of capital you will need a brokerage with high levels of leverage to make reasonable profits.
If capital is not a problem, any broker that has a wide variety of leverage options would be a good choice for you. A variety of options will let you vary the amount of risk you choose to take. For example, less leverage (and therefore less risk) may be preferable if you are dealing with highly volatile (exotic) currency pairs.
Along with different levels of leverage, look for brokers that offer different types of accounts. Many brokers will offer you two or more types. The smallest account is known as a mini account and it requires you to trade with a minimum of around $300. The mini account also generally offers a high amount of leverage.
The standard account allows you to trade at a variety of different leverages, but it requires minimum initial capital of $2,000. And finally, there are premium accounts, which often require significant amounts of capital. They also generally have different levels of leverage available to the traders who use them, and often offer additional tools and services. You will need to make sure that the broker you choose has the right leverage, tools, and services for the amount of capital that you are able to work with.