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EditorEditor: Alison HeyerdahlUpdated: May 2, 2024
AuthorAuthor: Chris Cammack

Last Updated On May 2, 2024

Chris Cammack
1

AvaTrade

Best UK Forex Broker

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2

Tickmill

Best for Low Cost MT4 Trading

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3

Spreadex

Best broker for spread betting

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4

XM

Best for Education

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5

Pepperstone

Best ECN Forex Broker in the UK

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6

XTB

Best Proprietary Trading Platform

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7

IG

Largest Selection of Trading Instruments

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8

FxPro

Best No Dealing Desk (NDD) Broker

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9

FP Markets

Best ECN Pricing

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10

IC Markets

Best for Low Trading Costs

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These are Best Forex Brokers in 2024

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Broker
FCA Regulated
Licenced by
Min. Deposit
Cost of Trading
Broker Score
Official Site
Compare
AvaTrade ASIC Regulated BrokersFinancial Services Conduct AuthorityCySEC Regulated BrokersFinancial Services AgencyCentral Bank of IrelandFinancial Regulatory Services AuthorityIsrael Securities AuthorityGBP 100USD 911110.54.59/ 5 Visit Broker >
Tickmill CySEC Regulated BrokersFCA Regulated Forex BrokersLabuan Financial Services AuthorityFinancial Services Conduct AuthorityThe Seychelles Financial Services AuthorityDFSA Regulated Forex BrokersGBP 100USD 611110.54.58/ 5 Visit Broker >
Spreadex FCA Regulated Forex BrokersUSD 0USD 611110.54.26/ 5 Visit Broker >
XM CySEC Regulated BrokersASIC Regulated BrokersDFSA Regulated Forex BrokersInternational Financial Services CommissionFinancial Services Conduct AuthorityGBP 5USD 611110.54.45/ 5 Visit Broker >
Pepperstone FCA Regulated Forex BrokersASIC Regulated BrokersCySEC Regulated BrokersGBP 0USD 1011110.54.61/ 5 Visit Broker >
XTB CySEC Regulated BrokersFCA Regulated Forex BrokersDFSA Regulated Forex BrokersInternational Financial Services CommissionKomisja Nadzoru FinansowegoGBP 0USD 711110.54.39/ 5 Visit Broker >
IG FCA Regulated Forex BrokersASIC Regulated BrokersBundesanstalt für FinanzdienstleistungsaufsichtFinansinspektionenGBP 0USD 611110.54.69/ 5 Visit Broker >
FxPro FCA Regulated Forex BrokersCySEC Regulated BrokersFinancial Services Conduct AuthorityDFSA Regulated Forex BrokersSecurities Commission of the BahamasGBP 100USD 1411110.54.39/ 5 Visit Broker >
FP Markets ASIC Regulated BrokersCySEC Regulated BrokersFinancial Services Conduct AuthorityCapital Markets AuthorityThe Seychelles Financial Services AuthorityGBP 50USD 711110.54.40/ 5 Visit Broker >
IC Markets CySEC Regulated BrokersASIC Regulated BrokersThe Seychelles Financial Services AuthoritySecurities Commission of the BahamasGBP 200USD 811110.54.56/ 5 Visit Broker >

How did FxScouts choose the best forex brokers?

When comparing the best forex brokers in the UK, we:

  • Confirmed that the brokers were regulated by the FCA or other top-tier authorities to ensure trader protection.
  • Assessed the brokers’ trading fees and platform options for UK residents by opening a live account and comparing the spreads on each instrument and platform to other brokers.
  • Checked the number of tradable instruments available through the broker for traders in the UK.
  • Reviewed the broker’s educational material and range of sources (such as e-books, webinars, glossary etc), to make sure they cater to all levels of traders, especially beginners.
  • Assessed the broker’s market analysis, including whether it is curated by an in-house research team or third-party providers, the quality of the material, and how frequently it’s updated.
  • Examined deposit and withdrawal options, costs and times for UK residents, e.g. if it’s possible to use instant banking and UK credit cards and what, if any, fees are involved.
  • Contacted customer support through the various channels offered by brokers, checking response time, service quality and whether or not they have a dedicated UK support team and phone number. 

Our Broker Score and Trust Rating

FxScouts’ Broker Score and Trust Rating constantly evolve to reflect the forex market’s dynamics. We ensure transparency by incorporating regulator data and user insights. Our in-depth reviews consider over 200 metrics across seven key categories:

  • Trust Rating: Assessment of broker reliability and reputation
  • Trading Costs: Spreads and fees for clear comparisons
  • Platforms: User-friendliness and features
  • Asset Selection: Forex, stocks, and other available instruments
  • Transactions: Simple and straightforward deposits & withdrawals
  • Education: Support for beginners and developing traders
  • Customer Support: Accessibility, responsiveness, and expertise

Learn how we set the standard for broker reviews. Explore our in-depth review process here.

These are the top Forex brokers in the UK for 2024, as determined by our review process.


Others Also Visit

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AvaTrade
4.59 /5
Read Review
Visit
Tickmill
4.58 /5
Read Review
Visit
Spreadex
4.26 /5
Read Review
Visit
XM
4.45 /5
Read Review
Visit
Pepperstone
4.61 /5
Read Review
Visit

AvaTrade

Broker Score
4.594.59 / 5
🏦  Min. DepositGBP 100
🛡️  Regulated By
💵  Trading Cost 
USD 9
⚖️  Max. Leverage30:1
💹  Copy Trading
🖥️  Platforms
💱  Instruments 

Best UK Forex Broker
Innovative trading tools
Trade vanilla options 

Best for

With a low minimum deposit and outstanding customer service, Avatrade is great for beginners. But their specialty instruments, like vanilla options, and intermediate and advanced education sections, cater to more experienced traders as well.

Why do we like it?

What we like about Avatrade is that the spreads are some of the tightest in the industry for an account with only a 100 GBP minimum deposit and no commission – as low as 0.9 pips on the EUR/USD. They also provide traders with unique and innovative trading tools and their own proprietary app, AvatradeGO.

Drawbacks

Even though they are well-regulated by top-tier regulators like ASIC and the CBI of Ireland, Avatrade does not currently have a license from the UK’s FCA, which might put some traders off. Another drawback is the limited market research available, mostly curated by third-party providers and not by Avatrade analysts. 

Summary:

AvaTrade is suitable for traders of all levels, due to its low minimum deposit, responsive customer service and in-depth and well-structured education materials. It stands out for its tight spreads, innovative trading tools, and the proprietary AvaTradeGO app. Additionally, AvaTrade is notable for AvaProtect, a unique tool that allows traders to purchase loss protection for a certain amount of time. AvaProtect is also available on the award-winning AvaTradeGo app and integrates with AvaTrade’s social trading application, Avasocial.

In addition, AvaTrade offers full support for MT4 and MT5 (including EAs, indicators, scalping and hedging) and provides free access to the integrated Trading Central dashboard for both platforms. Traders can also use AvaTrades’ in-house platform, AvaOptions, to trade Vanilla options.

Pros
  • Top-tier regulation and security with licenses from ASIC and CBI among others
  • Accessible trading with a low minimum deposit of 100 USD
  • Award-winning mobile trading with the AvaTradeGO app with social trading features
  • Wide range of assets including unique instruments like vanilla options
  • Educational material to support trader development and strategy enhancement
Cons
  • Market analysis could be more extensive
  • Poor regulatory oversight outside of the UK and EU
  • Avatrade is a Market Maker and operate a dealing desk which might not align with all trading preferences
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.90 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. AvaTrade Group regulated by ASIC, FSCA, B.V.I FSC & FSA. 76% of traders lose money with this provider.

Tickmill 

Broker Score
4.584.58 / 5
🏦  Min. DepositGBP 100
🛡️  Regulated By
💵  Trading Cost 
USD 6
⚖️  Max. Leverage30:1
💹  Copy Trading
🖥️  Platforms
💱  Instruments 

Best for Low-Cost MT4 Trading
Large selection of MT4 Trading Tools
Extensive Education Materials 

Best for

Tickmill stands out for serious beginners and more experienced traders looking for a trusted broker with strong MetaTrader support. It offers a low-cost commission-based account with extremely tight spreads and a minimum deposit of just 100 GBP, making it accessible to all levels of traders.

Why do we like it?

We like that Tickmill offers tight spreads, starting from 0.0 pips on the EUR/USD for its commission-based accounts, and some of the industry’s lowest commissions. Furthermore, Tickmill supports a wide range of currency pairs, provides helpful education materials and offers fast and free withdrawals.

Drawbacks

Despite its strengths, Tickmill has some limitations, such as a smaller range of only around 200 financial instruments – whereas competitors like Pepperstone offer 1200+ assets for trading. The commission-free entry-level account also starts at 1.6 pips on the EUR/USD, which is wider than other similar brokers.

Summary

Tickmill is suitable for traders of varying experience levels. It offers low minimum deposits and an extended educational section, including free downloadable e-books, video tutorials and infographics as well as hosting regular seminars and webinars. It provides cost-conscious trading with commission-free options, allows scalping and hedging and provides Islamic accounts, catering to a diverse range of trading strategies and preferences.

However, traders looking for a broader range of financial instruments, or want to use other platforms than MT4 and MT5, may find it less appealing.

Pros
  • Tight spreads
  • Well regulated
  • Fast and free withdrawals
Cons
  • Limited base currencies
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.00 pips with 6 USD commission round turn on the trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4 platform support. Tickmill is regulated by CySEC, FCA, FSCA, and the FSA-Seychelles. 71% of traders lose money with this provider.

Spreadex – Best for spread betting

Broker Score
4.264.26 / 5
🏦  Min. DepositUSD 0
🛡️  Regulated By
💵  Trading Cost 
USD 6
⚖️  Max. Leverage30:1
💹  Copy Trading
🖥️  Platforms
💱  Instruments 

Best broker for spread betting
High trust rating and FCA-regulated
Exceptionally tight spreads – down to 0.6 pips (EUR/USD)

Best for:

Spreadex is for traders looking for an FCA-regulated broker that offers spread betting and low trading fees – down to 0.6 pips (EUR/USD).

Why we like Spreadex:

Established in 1999, Spreadex has a high trust rating. Traders can choose between CFD trading and spread betting on two user-friendly platforms: TradingView and its in-house spread betting platform.  

Drawbacks:

Spreadex doesn’t offer a demo account, so users don’t have the opportunity to try out Spreadex’s trading platform and get a feel for the markets before they start live trading.

Our Verdict

Spreadex is a good FCA-regulated spread betting and CFD broker with one simple live account. The account has a 1 GBP minimum deposit requirement and spreads start at 0.6 pips (EUR/USD), one of the lowest spreads in the industry. The addition of the TradingView platform to its offering is a good move, considering how popular the platform is and traders can choose to trade on a large range of financial instruments, including over 3000 share CFDs, ETFs, over 60 Forex pairs, commodities, indices, cryptocurrencies, and bonds.

Pros
  • Tight spreads
  • Low minimum deposit
  • Wide range of assets
Cons
  • Limited demo account
  • No swap-free account option
AlertAccepts Clients from the UK. Average spread on the EUR/USD is 0.60 pips on trading account with the lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account not available. Spreadex platform and TradingView supported. Spreadex is regulated by FCA.

XM

Broker Score
4.454.45 / 5
🏦  Min. DepositGBP 5
🛡️  Regulated By
💵  Trading Cost 
USD 6
⚖️  Max. Leverage30:1
💹  Copy Trading
🖥️  Platforms
💱  Instruments 

Best for Education
Low Fees
Low Minimum Deposit

Best for

XM is a globally recognised broker, suitable for traders looking for one of the industry’s lowest fees, in-depth and well-structured education resources, and a beginner-friendly trading app. With its large selection of helpful trading tools and prompt customer service, XM caters to beginner and experienced traders.

Why do we like it?

We appreciate XM for its low spreads, starting at 0.6 pips on the EUR/USD for the commission-free accounts and 0 pips for the XM Zero Account, which has a commission of 3.5 USD per lot per side. The range of XM’s trading instruments also impresses, offering a selection of 1200+ instruments.

Drawbacks

Although regulated by top-tier regulators like ASIC and CySEC, XM does not currently hold a license from the UK’s FCA, which might be off-putting to some traders. Additionally, XM is a Market Maker, meaning the broker will be the counterparty to your trade, which might be a downside for those preferring an ECN broker.

Summary

XM stands out for its low minimum deposit, comprehensive educational materials, and user-friendly trading platforms. It offers trading on three trading accounts, all with a minimum deposit of just 5 GBP, making it highly accessible for every type of trader. The range of trading instruments is also impressive, with over 1200+ instruments available, including Forex pairs, stock CFDs, commodities, equity indices, and energies.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Excellent education
  • Free deposits and withdrawals
Cons
  • Limited platform choice
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.60 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. XM Group regulated by CySEC, ASIC, and the FSC. 75.33% of traders lose money with this provider.

Pepperstone

Broker Score
4.614.61 / 5
🏦  Min. DepositGBP 0
🛡️  Regulated By
💵  Trading Cost 
USD 10
⚖️  Max. Leverage30:1
💹  Copy Trading
🖥️  Platforms
💱  Instruments 

Best ECN Broker in the UK
All major platforms available
No Minimum Deposit

Best for

Pepperstone offers competitive spreads starting from 1.00 pips on its Standard Account and down to 0.10 pips on the Razor Account. With platforms like MT4, MT5, cTrader and TradingView all available, it caters to a range of trading preferences.

Why do we like it?

What we like about Pepperstone is its low-cost trading environment, commission-free options, transparent fees, as well as its trading platform support. At the same time, the lack of a required minimum deposit enhances its accessibility for all traders. 

Drawbacks

The main drawback is the complicated commission structure that might confuse some traders. Additionally, the market analysis frequency is less than that of some competitors, and the educational offerings, while good, do not match the depth provided by other large brokers.

Summary

Pepperstone is a top choice for Forex traders in the UK, and it is particularly suitable for traders looking for ECN trading conditions. Despite a less extensive educational section compared to some brokers, the available resources are well-structured and beneficial for beginners. Its trading conditions and platform options make it a strong contender in the Forex broker market. 

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Tight spreads
  • Great platform choice
  • Wide range of assets
Cons
  • Limited market analysis
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.00 pips with 0.0 USD commission round turn on the trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4, MT5 & cTrader platforms supported. Pepperstone is regulated by the FCA, ASIC, CySEC, SCB, CMA, BaFin and the DFSA. 75.6% of traders lose money with this provider.

XTB

Broker Score
4.394.39 / 5
🏦  Min. DepositGBP 0
🛡️  Regulated By
💵  Trading Cost 
USD 7
⚖️  Max. Leverage30:1
💹  Copy Trading
🖥️  Platforms
💱  Instruments 

Best Proprietary Trading Platform
Exclusive Stockbroking Service for UK Residents
No Minimum Deposit

Best for

XTB caters to traders looking for diverse trading instruments including Forex, CFDs, and real stocks, with a commission-free stock trading offer for UK residents on a user-friendly trading platform.

Why do we like it?

We especially like XTB’s proprietary trading platform, xStation5, which has won several awards for its user-friendly interface and innovative trading tools. Spreads average at 0.7 pips for EUR/USD, with no commission, making it one of the lowest trading costs in the industry.

Drawbacks

The primary drawback of XTB is the limited choice of trading platforms, as it only supports xStation5, excluding popular platforms like MT4 and MT5. Another disadvantage is the slightly limited range of funding options compared to other big brokers, and the fees charged on some deposit and withdrawal methods.  

Summary

XTB is well-suited for traders at all levels, offering low-cost trading starting from 0.35 pips and averaging at 0,7 pips on the EUR/USD with no commission on a wide range of assets, including a commission-free stock trading offer for UK residents. While the platform choice is limited, xStation5 caters to most trading needs with its advanced features and user-friendly design. 

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Tight spreads
  • Low minimum deposit
  • Good for beginners
Cons
  • Limited platform choice
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.70 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. xStation5 platform supported. XTB Group is regulated by CySEC, DFSA, FCA and the IFSC. 77% of traders lose money with this provider.

IG

Broker Score
4.694.69 / 5
🏦  Min. DepositGBP 0
🛡️  Regulated By
💵  Trading Cost 
USD 6
⚖️  Max. Leverage30:1
💹  Copy Trading
🖥️  Platforms
💱  Instruments 

17,000+ Trading Instruments
Well-written and Comprehensive Education
Weekend trading on GBP/USD, USD/JPY, and EUR/USD

Best for

IG is suitable for traders looking for a well-regulated broker with an extensive selection of 17,000+ trading instruments across various asset classes, including innovative CFDs and GBP-denominated options. It caters to a broad audience, particularly those interested in weekend Forex trading, which is not available at other brokers.

Why do we like it?

We like the substantial range of trading instruments and the current and accessible educational content. Its trading platforms offer low spreads starting from 0.6 pips on EUR/USD, with commission-free options.

Drawbacks

The main drawbacks of IG are the credit card and PayPal deposit fees, which are higher than those of other brokers. Some traders might also find the array of platforms and instruments overwhelming.

Summary

IG is an excellent choice for traders who seek a reliable and diversified trading environment. It offers one of the widest ranges of instruments in the industry, and its educational resources are detailed and easily accessible, making it suitable for all levels of traders. Another perk is weekend trading on some of the major currency pairs, which is usually not available at other brokers.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Tight spreads
  • Great platform choice
  • Excellent education
  • Excellent market analysis
Cons
  • High minimum deposit
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.85 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4, ProRealTime and L2 Dealer platforms supported. IG Markets Group is regulated by FCA, ASIC, and the FSCA.

FxPro

Broker Score
4.394.39 / 5
🏦  Min. DepositGBP 100
🛡️  Regulated By
💵  Trading Cost 
USD 14
⚖️  Max. Leverage30:1
💹  Copy Trading
🖥️  Platforms
💱  Instruments 

Best No Dealing Desk (NDD) Broker
Large selection of Trading Platforms
Tax-free Trading in the UK with Spread Betting Options

Best for

FxPro is a No-Dealing-Desk (NDD) broker suitable for traders seeking a well-regulated broker with tiered accounts, flexible deposit and cost structures, and access to many popular trading platforms.

Why do we like it?

We like that FxPro provides a broad selection of trading platforms (MT4, MT5, cTrader, and the FxPro Edge), catering to various trading strategies and preferences. We also like the proprietary mobile trading platform, which is user-friendly and well-designed and offers traders the flexibility to trade on the go. 

Drawbacks

The main drawbacks of FxPro include higher than average trading costs compared to other brokers and limited educational and market analysis materials. While FxPro offers a range of educational resources, they may not be as comprehensive as those provided by other brokers, potentially leaving beginners seeking more guidance elsewhere.

Summary

FxPro is an excellent broker for traders looking for a range of trading platforms and instruments, such as Forex, Share CFDs, Futures and Indices. Its spread betting option particularly appeals to UK traders looking for tax-efficient trading. While trading costs and educational resources could be improved, with its diverse platform offerings, including MT4, MT5, cTrader, and FxPro Edge, FxPro appeals to traders of all levels.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Great platform choice
  • Tight spreads
Cons
  • Limited education
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.40 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4, MT5, cTrader and FxPro proprietary trading platform supported. FxPro Group is regulated by FCA, CySEC, FSCA, and the SCB. 71.58% of traders lose money with this provider.

FP Markets

Broker Score
4.404.40 / 5
🏦  Min. DepositGBP 50
🛡️  Regulated By
💵  Trading Cost 
USD 7
⚖️  Max. Leverage30:1
💹  Copy Trading
🖥️  Platforms
💱  Instruments 

Best ECN Pricing
All major platforms available
IRESS access for professional stock traders

Best for

FP Markets caters to traders looking for a well-regulated broker that offers a wide range of popular trading platforms, such as MT4, MT5, cTrader, and Tradingview. It is suitable for traders of all levels and requires a minimum deposit of 100 GBP.

Why do we like it?

What we like about FP Markets is its tight spreads starting from 0.0 pips on the Raw account, which is especially beneficial for scalpers and day traders. We also appreciate that in addition to MT4 and MT5, cTrader and TradingView are also available, making FP Markets one of a handful of brokers with such a good platform offering. 

Drawbacks

Although regulated by top-tier regulators like ASIC and CySEC, FP Markets does not currently hold a license from the UK’s FCA, which might be off-putting to some traders. Additionally, while it provides a broad range of financial instruments, the selection can vary significantly between trading platforms, with most share CFDs only available on the IRESS platform through FP Market’s ASIC entity. 

Summary

FP Markets offers a broad selection of major trading platforms, including MT4, MT5, cTrader, and TradingView, and with a minimum deposit of 100 GBP, it’s a versatile choice for traders of all levels. Due to tight spreads starting from 0.0 pips on the Raw account, it is particularly appealing for scalpers and day traders. Despite its broad platform offering and being regulated by top-tier authorities like ASIC and CySEC, the lack of an FCA license and the limited selection of financial instruments on some platforms might deter some traders.

Pros
  • Trusted since 2005 with top-tier regulation
  • 100 USD minimum deposit amount
  • Supports MT4 MT5 cTrader and TradingView
  • Spreads start at 1.0 pip and narrow to 0 pips with higher trading volumes
  • Welcoming South African traders with specific regulatory compliance
Cons
  • Notably higher withdrawal fees than competitors
  • Stock CFDs are limited on MT4/MT5 and primarily available through IRESS
  • High leverage up to 500:1 posing risks for inexperienced traders
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.10 pips with 6 USD commission round turn on the trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4, MT5, and cTrader trading platforms available. FP Markets is regulated by CySEC and ASIC.

IC Markets

Broker Score
4.564.56 / 5
🏦  Min. DepositGBP 200
🛡️  Regulated By
💵  Trading Cost 
USD 8
⚖️  Max. Leverage30:1
💹  Copy Trading
🖥️  Platforms
💱  Instruments 

Best for Low Trading Costs
Comprehensive suite of helpful trading tools
24/7 Customer Service

Best for

IC Markets is an excellent choice for traders who seek a low-cost trading environment with access to a large selection of financial instruments. Suitable for both beginners and experienced traders, IC Markets provides trading on multiple platforms, including MT4, MT5, and cTrader.

Why do we like it?

We like IC Markets because of its low costs. Its average spreads are 0.10 pips (EUR/USD) on the Raw Spread Account in exchange for a low commission of 6 USD (round turn) per lot, making it one of the most affordable brokers in the industry. IC Markets also offers a useful suite of advanced trading tools, including free VPS services and Trading Central.

Drawbacks

The primary drawback of IC Markets is the slightly higher minimum deposit required for opening an account and international bank transfer fees, which are relatively expensive.

Summary

IC Markets offers a low-cost trading environment, making it an ideal choice for traders seeking affordability. It caters to beginner and experienced traders, supporting multiple popular platforms such as MT4, MT5, and cTrader. With average spreads of 0.10 pips on EUR/USD on the Raw Spread Account and a modest commission fee, valuable trading tools, and 24/7 customer service, IC Markets positions itself as a cost-effective option. However, its higher-than-average minimum deposit requirement and expensive international bank transfer fees is a drawback.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Tight spreads
  • Wide range of assets
  • Great platform choice
Cons
  • High minimum deposit
  • Limited market analysis
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.10 pips with 7 USD commission round turn on the trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4, MT5 & cTrader platforms supported. IC Markets is regulated by CySEC and ASIC.

Important Factors to Consider when choosing a Forex Broker in the UK

The FCA’s Regulation Standards for Forex Trading

Forex trading in the UK is legal and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA requires all Forex brokers operating in the country to hold a valid license and adhere to strict standards, including:

  • The provision of segregated trading accounts to protect client funds from broker mismanagement or default.
  • The provision of negative balance protection to ensure that client losses can not exceed the amount in the trading account.
  • Client fund protection which includes higher margin close-out percentages designed to limit client losses.
  • Effective fraud investigation processes and frequently published investment scam reports.

As well as the FCA, other top-tier global regulators include ASIC and CySEC. Whether you decide to use a broker regulated by the FCA or not, it’s important to remember that choosing a regulated broker is the best way to ensure your protection as a Forex trader.

How does the FCA regulate Forex Brokers in the UK?

In the UK, Forex brokers must be licenced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the regulatory body for non-banking financial services in the country. 

FCA Regulation

Regulators supervise Forex brokers and other financial services companies to make sure they’re behaving ethically and within the law. Tier 1 regulators, like the FCA, have the best legal structure and enforcement mechanisms in the world, ensuring a clean market and the protection of participants. 

The FCA has the power to take action against any Forex broker that is found to violate its regulations, including revoking their license to operate. It has a register of firms that allows you to check that you are indeed using an FCA-regulated broker. The Authority warns that if a broker is not listed on its register, “it’s probably a scam”. The FCA also maintains a warning list of firms to avoid.

Unregulated brokers are not forced to hold to the same standards. This can lead to a higher risk of fraud or unethical practices, which can result in financial losses for traders. Choosing a regulated Forex broker gives you peace of mind and security, knowing that your investments are protected and your trading experience is fair. Read more about regulation and its importance in forex trading here.

How to check if your broker is regulated by the FCA

Confirming whether your broker is regulated by the FCA is a straightforward process. By navigating to the brokers homepage, you can find their FCA registration number. 

To confirm, you would need to visit the FCA’s official register page. Here, by entering the broker’s registration number, you can instantly confirm their compliance with FCA regulations.

FCA regulation

Scam Brokers and Reporting Regulatory Violations

If you are unsure about the reliability of your Forex broker, you can check our list of brokers to avoid. If you believe you have been scammed by your broker, the first thing to do is contact the FCA. You can contact the FCA’s complaints department here, and they can advise you on the next steps to take. We also have a report a scam broker form which we use to gather information so that we get the word out. Your personal details will not be shared externally.

Knowing Your Trading costs 

It is important to understand and be able to calculate your costs when trading forex, as these costs could affect your overall profitability. Forex brokers usually make money either from the spread or from a commission – fees that a forex trader pays to use a broker’s services.

The spread is the difference between the buy price (also known as the offer or ask price) and the sell price (also known as the bid price) quoted for a currency, and can be either fixed or variable. The spread is measured in pips, with the industry average being at around 1 pip for EUR/USD. 

The commission is a fee, mostly measured in USD, for opening and closing a trade, which often varies depending on lot size. We have found that the industry average is around 3-3.5 USD per lot and side traded (6 – 7 USD round turn), but this often depends on the account type and platform you choose. 

To calculate the total cost, you can either use a regular calculator or a spread cost calculator; many of these are available for free on the internet.

Besides the costs of trading, brokers could also charge other types of fees – often referred to as non-trading fees. These fees include swap/rollover fees (a fee your broker either credits or debits from your account balance whenever you keep a position open overnight), inactivity fees (charged to accounts when there’s been no trading activity for a certain amount of time) and fees for withdrawing funds.

We have also found that brokers often charge fees for additional paid services such as VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting, premium trading signals, and access to exclusive versions of trading platforms, such as Tradingview Plus or Premium.

Read more about understanding your trading costs in Forex here.

Which Trading Platforms do the Best Forex Brokers Offer?

The best Forex brokers generally offer Metatrader 4 (MT4), MetaTrader 5 (MT5), and/or cTrader. Recently, we have found that more and more brokers are starting to offer the relatively new Tradingview platform. These are third-party trading platforms which you can install on your computer. They are fully customisable and have advanced charting tools, research tools, and options for automated trading or copy trading. Some brokers also have their own trading platforms, which we find are often more user-friendly, and are usually accessed via a browser or on your mobile phone. For more details on trading platforms and how they work, check out our guide on trading platforms

Trading apps

Forex trading apps are usually offered free by Forex brokers. Some apps are proprietary, which means they are developed in-house by a broker. However, many popular apps are developed by third-party companies.

The best Forex trading apps will let you open a demo or trading account, buy and sell instruments, deposit and withdraw funds from your broker, provide real-time market data, display news and analysis, and provide price alerts and other tools to manage your risk. 

Using a trading app offers the convenience and ability to react instantly to market changes directly from your smartphone, transforming how traders manage positions outside of a traditional desktop setup. However, we find that with this accessibility comes with drawbacks, including the potential for overtrading and making impulsive decisions. Additionally, while mobile technology has advanced, trading on a small screen may limit detailed chart analysis and risk precision, especially in volatile market conditions or with weak internet connectivity.

For more details on trading apps, check out our guide on the best forex trading apps.

What range of trading instruments do the best forex brokers offer?

We have found that the best brokers offer a large range of asset classes for traders to choose from, such as Forex, Shares, Indices, Cryptocurrencies (although it is illegal for non-professional traders to trade cryptocurrencies since 2021 in the UK), Commodities, Bonds and Interest rates. 

The number of assets within each class, e.g., the number of forex pairs available, is also important to further diversify your portfolio. An offering of around 40 – 60 Forex pairs is considered the industry average.

Because of rules implemented by the FCA, UK brokers have a maximum leverage of 30:1, but different instruments will often have different leverage. See below for a list of instruments, their average availability and usual leverage.

Other rare instruments include futures, available at brokers such as IG and FP Markets, and Vanilla Options, available to trade at Avatrade.

Read more about the best CFD brokers here.

FAQ

Do I Need a Broker to Trade Forex?

Yes, you will need a broker to trade Forex. Connecting traders to the Forex market is an expensive and technically complex business. Most Forex brokers form a bridge between the global Forex market and Forex traders; these are called market makers. Market makers buy up large trading positions from the Forex market, which they sell to traders in smaller trade sizes.

Other brokers act as a go-between, taking orders from traders and sending them straight to the global Forex market. These are called ECN brokers or DMA brokers. Both types of Forex brokers require a lot of money to set up and need teams of highly qualified technicians to maintain their trading platforms. 

How do Forex Brokers Make Money?

Forex brokers have different revenue models: Market markers only make money from the spread – the difference between the buying and selling price of the currency pair. These brokers will be the counterparty to any trade, so they make money when clients lose trades. 

ECNs have tight spreads but make money from commissions, which are charged whenever a trade is opened or closed. This type of broker makes money whether a client wins or loses.

Brokers may also profit from other fees, like overnight financing charges (swap/rollover fees) and by offering additional paid services such as VPS services.

Why is Regulation Important?

Regulation is essential for protecting your money and ensuring a fair and transparent trading experience.

When trading Forex, you want to be confident that your broker is operating legally and ethically and that your funds are being handled safely. Regulated Forex brokers must adhere to strict standards set by regulatory bodies, which include requirements for capital adequacy, segregation of client funds, and ongoing reporting and compliance. This means that your funds are protected, and your trading experience is fair.

Which is the Best Broker in the UK?

According to our comprehensive tests and research, completed by our panel of forex experts, the best broker in the UK is Pepperstone. We consider it to be the top broker based on a number of objectives, using over 200 metrics to determine its overall broker score. Some of Pepperstone’s characteristics include being the lowest cost ECN broker available to UK residents, with spreads that average at 0.84 pips on the EUR/USD on its Standard commission-free account and spreads as low as 0 pips (EUR/USD) on its Razor Account in exchange for a commission of 7 USD. 

Pepperstone’s execution speed is very high, which helps prevent slippage, and trades at are executed in less than 30 ms on 4 different trading platforms, including MT4, MT5, cTrader, and TradingView. This alongside a wide range of trading tools, excellent education, and world-class market research materials. Regarding safety and trust, Pepperstone is regulated by several top-tier regulators, including the FCA, negative balance protection is provided to all clients, and all funds are kept in segregated accounts.

Which Forex Broker has the Best Proprietary Platform?

xStation5, developed by XTB, is considered by many (and ourselves) to be one of the absolute best trading platforms in the industry. During our testing, we found the platform to be user-friendly, intuitive, powerful, and fast, and has many advanced features found in other popular third-party platforms, like MT4. xStation5 offers an impressive range of customisable charts, risk management tools, multiple order types, price alerts, and real-time performance statistics to evaluate your trading activity and identify areas for improvement. xStation5 also displays sentiment data on its dashboard so users can view the percentage of traders who bought or sold particular instruments. Overall, we believe that most traders will find trading on xStation5 a great experience.

Which Forex Brokers are Best for Beginner Traders?

The best brokers for beginners are well-regulated and have a 100 GBP or lower minimum deposit requirement, ensuring security and a low cost of entry. Other important factors also include low trading fees and that the broker offers negative balance protection (a requirement for all brokers regulated by the FCA), as these both help to lower risk. Responsive and knowledgeable customer support is also essential. Customer service should be available at least 24/5 via email, live chat, and telephone (preferably through a local phone number). A few brokers, like Pepperstone and IG, even offer customer service 24/7. Last but not least, beginners should look for a broker with a high-quality education section; this should feature articles, video tutorials, frequent webinars, advanced trading strategies, and chart analysis.

For more details and to see which brokers we recommend for new traders, check out our dedicated page on the best brokers for beginners.

Which Forex Brokers have the Best Demo Accounts?

The brokers with the best demo accounts cater to both beginners and more experienced traders. We have found that these brokers understand that traders need to be able to practise without being forced into trading real money too soon, and be able to test strategies without any restrictions. In our experience, the brokers with the best demo accounts have accounts that are not time-limited and replicate real market conditions as closely as possible. Beginners looking for a demo account will also want a broker with good education sources, so they can learn about Forex trading as they practise.

For more details and to see which brokers we recommend for demo trading, check out our dedicated page on the best demo accounts.

What Leverage do Forex Brokers Offer?

All brokers regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have a maximum leverage of 30:1 for retail traders. Offshore brokers may offer leverage as high as 2000:1, but with very little security as a result. We always recommend choosing a well-regulated broker to ensure that your funds are safe.

Is Forex Trading taxable in the UK?

Yes, Forex trading will generally be subject to either income tax or capital gains taxes (CGT), depending on personal circumstances and the instruments traded. 

In the UK, the most common ways of leveraged trading are CFD trading and spread betting, which are subject to varied taxation. The primary difference lies in how capital gains tax (CGT) is applied. For the majority, spread betting is tax-free, meaning there is no tax obligation. 

CFD trading, however, may be subject to CGT and the tax rate will be dependent on your income. This means that you will deduct your losses from your profit, and the remainder will be taxable. If you’re a part-time Forex trader you will have a tax-free allowance for the first £1000 of profits. 

For more information, we recommend contacting HM Revenue and Customs or a tax consultant.

Forex Risk Disclaimer

Trading Forex and CFDs is not suitable for all investors as it carries a high degree of risk to your capital: 75-90% of retail investors lose money trading these products. Forex and CFD transactions involve high risk due to the following factors: Leverage, market volatility, slippage arising from a lack of liquidity, inadequate trading knowledge or experience, and a lack of regulatory protection. Traders should not deposit any money that is not considered disposable income. Regardless of how much research you have done or how confident you are in your trade, there is always a substantial risk of loss. (Learn more about these risks from the UK’s regulator, the FCA, or the Australian regulator, ASIC).

Our Rating & Review Methodology

Our overall Forex Rankings report and Directory of CFD Brokers to Avoid are the result of extensive research on over 180 Forex brokers. These resources help traders find the best Forex brokers – and steer them away from the worst ones. These resources have been compiled using over 200 data points on each broker and over 3000 hours of research. Our team conducts all research independently: Testing brokers, gathering information from broker representatives and sifting through legal documents. Learn more about how we rank brokers

Editorial Team

 

Chris Cammack
Head of Content

Chris joined the company in 2019 after ten years experience in research, editorial and design for political and financial publications. His background has given him a deep knowledge of international financial markets and the geopolitics that affects them. Chris has a keen eye for editing and a voracious appetite for financial and political current affairs. He ensures that our content across all sites meets the standards of quality and transparency that our readers expect.

 

Alison Heyerdahl
Senior Financial Writer

Alison joined the team as a writer in 2021. She has a medical degree with a focus on physiotherapy and a bachelor’s in psychology. However, her interest in forex trading and her love for writing led her to switch careers, and she now has over eight years experience in research and content development. She has tested and reviewed 100+ brokers and has a great understanding of the Forex trading world.

 

Ida Hermansen
Financial Writer

Ida joined our team as a financial writer in 2023. She has a degree in Digital Marketing and a background in content writing and SEO. In addition to her marketing and writing skills, Ida also has an interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks. Her interest in crypto trading led to a wider fascination with Forex technical analysis and price movement. She continues to develop her skills and knowledge in Forex trading and keeps a close eye on which Forex brokers offer the best trading environments for new traders.

 

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