If you’re thinking of trading currencies, you’ll need to set up an account with a forex broker. Most traders use a broker to handle their transactions. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the volume of brokers offering online services. Before selecting a broker, it’s best to take the time to carefully research your options. Become knowledgeable about the available services and the fees charged by various brokers.
Brokers are the people or companies that buy and sell orders according each investor’s selections. Brokers make their living charging commissions or fees for their services.
You could, of course, attempt to decide on a selection of online brokers by getting in touch with their Internet help-desks and see how promptly they respond to your inquiry. You can check out whether their answers to your questions satisfy you. Remember, pre-sales service is likely to be better than post-sales service. This can be the case with any online business, not with just brokers.
Word-of-mouth advertising is always the most believable, and is applicable to FOREX trading as well. See who your family, friends and colleagues are working with and what, if any, complaints or problems they’ve experienced with different brokers.
You will want to be aware in advance about any fees involved. What is the spread and is it fixed or variable according to the type of account? Are there wider spreads for mini accounts? What other charges are there? Smaller spreads equate to higher profits for traders, but there may be a trade-off with poorer service.
Customer satisfaction and safety are part of the equation. Online brokers are supposed to offer automatic execution and have clear policies regarding slippage. They should be able to anticipate how much slippage to expect in both run-of-the-mill and fast-moving markets. You’ll want a broker that responds quickly with minimum slippage.
Margin accounts are the bread-and butter of forex trading. Things you’ll need to know include the margin requirements, how it’s calculated, does it vary with the currency traded and is it always calculated on the same of the week? Some brokers offer different margins for standard and mini accounts. Be sure you’re familiar with your broker’s margin terms before establishing an account.
Above all else, look for dependability and the facility to maneuver well in dynamic markets. Moving software is vital to online forex traders. The software should offer automatic trading. It may include trailing stops and trading from the chart special features or they may come attached to an extra fee. Be sure you know in advance what your trading needs are and what your broker charges for them. Check out the opportunities available by testing a demo account with a selection of online brokers.
It’s also a good idea to learn whether the broker insures clients’ funds and the scope of the insurance. Other research should include the broker’s policy for minimum account balances, interest payments on account balances, which currencies can be traded and whether non-standard sized lots can be traded.
A forex broker should be partnered with a large financial institution such as a bank to facilitate providing the funds essential for margin trading. In the United States brokers should be registered as a Futures Commission Merchant (FCM) with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as protection against fraud and abusive trade practices.
The bottom line is to gather all this information and then look at the overall picture before deciding to go with any particular broker.