Online Broker Comparison
No matter what stage you’re at in your trading career, you’ll benefit from using our online broker comparison tool. Designed to help you find your perfect broker with ease, on this page you can compare facts from all of our top broker recommendations. Save yourself hours of research and see which forex brokers are most suitable for you at a glance.
Online Broker Comparison
How to Compare Brokers
At BrokersOnline, we want you to make informed broker selections. To help you do this, our broker comparison tool gives you clear, easy-to-access facts. Before you get started, however, you need to figure out your trading style and what you want and need. To do this, ask yourself:
- What do I want to trade (stocks, forex, CFDs)?
- How often will I trade?
- How much do I want to invest?
- What tools do I want my broker to provide?
Once you’ve got some answers, you can start comparing our top-ranking brokers.
Whilst we’re more than happy to share our top choices with you, we understand that choosing a broker is subjective. You may look for different features than other traders, and vice versa. That said, there are some key areas you must consider.
In the tables above, you can see we’ve highlighted facts about each broker. These are the details that you need to pay attention to most. Why? We’re glad you asked.
Before you use our broker comparison tool, you need to know what you want to trade. There are several types of online brokers, each providing trading instruments in different asset classes.
- Forex currency pairs – With forex brokers, you trade in currency pairs. A currency pair consists of two currencies, the base currency and the quote currency. When trading the EUR/USD pair, for example, the USD is the quote currency. This tells you how many dollars you need to buy one euro. Currency pairs are highly liquid, giving you plenty of opportunities to profit.
- Stocks – If you want to engage with the world’s biggest companies, stock trading is for you. Online brokers offer stocks in a variety of forms, including owning the underlying asset and stock CFDs.
- Mutual Funds – By purchasing shares in a mutual fund, you can profit from a professionally managed portfolio of assets, such as stocks and bonds. These portfolios can contain well over 100 individual assets, which allows you to diversify your investments with ease. Mutual funds are long-term products, so you can hold on to your shares for years, if not decades.
- ETFs – Exchange traded funds are baskets of certain assets, such as stocks or commodities. Similar to mutual funds, they allow you to diversify your portfolio to reduce risk. The difference, however, is that you can trade ETFs quickly on the stock exchange. This gives you more flexibility, as you can pull out when you wish without large fees.
- CFDs – Contracts for difference allow you to speculate on whether the value of an asset will rise or fall. Unlike other investment opportunities, you never own the underlying asset. Instead, you profit from any changes in price that occur between the time that the contract opens and closes. You can trade CFDs on various assets, including stocks, commodities, precious metals, and indices.
It’s important to consider a broker’s range of trading opportunities in your comparisons, as you may only be interested in one type of instrument. If that’s the case, you can hurry on to comparing other factors.
If you’re unsure of what you want to trade, however, it’s worth knowing that a wide variety of instruments can give you more chances to profit. With a diverse broker, you needn’t put all your eggs in one basket.
If one market is suffering a downturn or low liquidity, you can invest in another for the time being. You can also look for safe haven instruments such as gold or mutual funds. These provide you with great hedging opportunities, as they generally remain stable throughout economic crises.
Regulation and Licenses
You may wonder why you need to consider regulation to compare brokers. If a broker has one license it’s as safe as any other licensed broker, right? Well, no, not exactly.
Certain regulatory bodies are more respected than others, as they are more stringent and impose more safeguarding policies. These are what we call top-tier regulators.
- For forex brokers, top-tier regulators include the CFTC, IIROC, CySEC, and FCA.
- For stock brokers, top-tier regulation comes from the SEC, FINRA, and SIPC.
In contrast, when you make your broker comparison you may find regulation from the likes of IFSC Belize, FSC Mauritius, or the BVI FSC. These are lower-tier authorities. It is important to know this distinction, as it can show what client protection a broker has. That being said, many forex brokers with lower-tier licenses are completely safe – we’d never recommend you a broker that wasn’t.
It’s also important to compare forex broker licenses if you are trading from a particular country. If you choose a broker without a license in your country, you may waive your right to legal recourse and compensation should something go wrong.
Minimum Deposit Limits
When you use our broker comparison tool, look at is each broker’s minimum deposit limits carefully. Almost all online brokers require you to fund your account with at least a certain amount to get started. This limit may vary depending on which account type you open, so our tool lists the lowest option.
You must consider the minimum deposit limit when comparing brokers, as it may price you out of some options. Never feel pressured to deposit more than you initially planned, as this could mess up your trading plan.
The minimum deposit limit is also a good indicator of whether the broker is suitable for you. If you’re a beginner trader, you probably don’t want to pick a broker that requires a large initial deposit as it shows they are more interested in high-volume traders.
At the other end of the scale, if you have the funds and the experience to deposit a large amount, a high minimum deposit limit can signify a premium brokerage experience that comes with a variety of extras.
You must consider several things when comparing broker trading platforms. You want a trading platform that’s intuitive, clear, and efficient.
- Stock Trading Platforms – Most online stock brokers offer a proprietary platform, such as Thinkorswim or TradeStation. As this means you can’t make a like-for-like comparison, you need to look at what additional features they provide. This could be market scanners, tools such as indicators, or third-party analytical software.
- Currency Trading Platforms – Most forex brokers offer MetaTrader 4 (MT4) or 5 (MT5), which are great for beginner traders. Experienced traders may prefer proprietary platforms that offer advanced capabilities, such as VPS hosting, direct market access (DMA), or extra charting tools.
Whatever type of trader you are, you also want a trading platform that offers a great range of research and analysis tools. Your broker trading platform comparison should take indicators and trading signals into consideration. A great platform can help you trade smarter, so it’s important to know which platforms offer what.
Our broker comparison tool also includes trading platforms as it helps you to know what devices you can trade on. Both MT4 and MT5 are available across all browsers and phones. Some brokers may offer proprietary mobile apps too, although the quality will vary. If trading on the go is important to you, this is a key area to pay attention to.
No broker comparison would be complete without considering trading costs. Although you will encounter different fees depending on what type of broker you’re trading with, you can compare them across two different categories:
- Trading fees – These are the fees you incur every time you place a trade. They may include commissions, fixed trading fees, or overnight fees like swaps and financing rates. When comparing forex brokers, trading fees also include spreads. For stock brokers, compare broker assisted trading fees.
- Non-trading fees – This category encompasses any fees not related to trading. It includes account maintenance charges, inactivity fees, currency conversion rates, and transaction fees.
Number of Instruments
We include the number of stocks or currency pairs a broker offers in our comparison tool as it shows what trading opportunities you can take advantage of. Ideally, you want the broker that offers the highest number – so long as it matches up with all your other requirements.
By offering more instruments, brokers can help you diversify your portfolio. With stocks, this means you can take risks on smaller companies, and hedge your bets with titans such as Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet. When trading forex, diversifying is also important as the market is incredibly volatile. If you have access to both major and emerging currencies, you have opportunities to profit even when the main markets are looking risky.
If you want to take this idea further, you may wish to include other assets in your forex broker comparisons. Many brokers offer you CFDs on commodities, indices, and cryptocurrencies. Again, this helps you to spread your portfolio and reduce your risk.
Specific Comparisons for Forex Brokers
If you are comparing forex brokers, there are a few more details to look at, namely minimum spreads and leverage limits.
When you trade forex, spreads are the most common fees you will come across. This is the difference between the bid and the ask price. Brokers list spreads in pips. Pips are the unit of measurement to express the change in value between two currencies. For example:
If the bid price is 1.1062
And the ask price is 1.1065
The spread is 3 pips
Spreads are how most ‘zero commission’ brokers make their money. Instead of charging you to trade separately, they build the cost into the price you pay to buy/sell a currency pair.
Our forex broker comparison tool lists the minimum spread on the EUR/USD currency pair. This is because this is the most popular currency pair with forex traders. It’s also normally a good indicator of whether a broker’s spreads are competitive on the whole.
Last but not least, we have maximum leverage limits. You should include these in your forex broker comparisons, but they should never be the be-all or end-all when choosing a broker. This is because leverage is beneficial but risky.
Leverage allows you to open trades, with just a fraction of the capital. Brokers list their leverage limits as ratios. For example:
A broker may offer 300:1 leverage on forex pairs
This means that with $100, you can open a trade worth $30,000
Leverage helps to increase your profit potential yet, as it allows you to make bigger trades, it can also magnify your losses. You shouldn’t select the broker with the highest maximum leverage levels, no matter how tempting that can be.
When you view our forex broker comparison tool, you may notice that many well-regulated brokers do not offer high leverage amounts. This is because regulators control these limits. In the US, brokers can only offer 50:1 leverage on major currency pairs, and 20:1 leverage on minors. This makes this aspect of comparing forex brokers easy, as it levels the playing field.
The Bottom Line on Comparing Brokers
To choose the best broker for you, you need to know what aspects you consider most important. Once you’ve figured that out, it is easy to use our comparison tool.
If you feel you don’t have strong preferences, however, you’ll be happy to learn that our experts test all the brokers featured on this page. Whilst some may offer different features or fees, they are all trustworthy and secure.