The United States Dollar ($) is the world’s most traded currency considering it is part of over 90% of all global trades. Surprisingly, the US isn’t home to the largest number of forex traders or forex brokers. This makes it harder to find good forex brokers in the USA. Before discussing how to choose the best US forex brokers, let’s first discuss forex market regulation in America.
Forex Market Regulation in the US
Forex market regulation is more stringent in the US than in most countries. There are two main institutions tasked with regulating forex in the US, namely; the NFA (National Futures Association) and the (CFTC) Commodity Futures Trading Commission. All forex brokers with operations in the US must be registered by the CFTC and NFA. NFA and CFTC laws apply to US-based forex brokers and every other forex broker that serves US clients.
The NFA is a self-regulating governing institution that offers a regulatory framework on forex to ensure integrity, transparency, compliance, and protection of traders and other market participants. The NFA has an online verification system where forex traders among other forex market players can verify forex brokerage firms.
Important: The SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) doesn’t consider currency pairs as securities. As a result, the body doesn’t have any authority over the FX market in the US.
Top Forex Brokers That Accept US Clients in 2019
In regards to forex rules, the Dodd-Frank Act is the main body of rules governing FX trading in the US. The Dodd-Frank Act reformed insufficient regulation in the US finance industry that had contributed to the 2007/8 financial crisis. The regulations are part of the reason why the US is home to a few brokers and retail traders. If you are interested in finding the best-of-the-best US forex brokers, here are some good tips to consider.
Tips to choosing the best forex brokers in USA
- Make sure they meet all regulatory requirements
Regulatory compliance has to be among the most important considerations when choosing the best forex brokers in the US. As mentioned above, there are very strict regulations on forex trading in the US which are largely to blame for the low number of brokers and traders in the country despite the US dollar being the most heavily traded currency in the world.
For US forex brokers to be deemed compliant, they must become a member of the NFA and CFTC before they are considered Futures Commission Merchants and Retail Foreign Exchange Dealers. The NFA has rules, programs as well as services that protect the integrity of the US forex market, forex traders as well as investors. The CFTC regulates options and commodity futures markets in the US. The independent government agency’s mission is protecting forex market users and citizens from manipulation, fraud, and abusive practices. The CFTC also fosters an open, competitive, and sound financial market.
Before you open a trading a/c with any US forex brokers, check for CFTC and NFA compliance since this is the highest form of security against any malpractices common among brokers today. A professional looking broker website doesn’t mean anything if the broker hasn’t met the stringent guidelines of the CFTC and NFA. Brokers who are CFTC compliant will state this clearly on their website. Those who are NFA compliant will give their NFA number. You can find this information on the homepage among other visible places such as the About Us section of a broker’s website.
- Assess trading platform/s and software
Once you have confirmed compliance, you can consider their trading platform and software offerings. Most forex brokers in America use proprietary or generic/white labeled trading platforms. Proprietary trading platforms are those that have been designed in house. Generic platforms are built by 3rd parties but feature a broker’s branding. MetaTrader4 is the world’s most popular generic forex trading platform. The best forex brokers in the USA should offer this trading platform or other popular tested and proven platforms.
They should also have a proprietary platform just in case you don’t like their generic options. It’s advisable to try proprietary platforms just to see if they work for you or not. The best brokers have a variety of platform options to choose from. You should also be able to download the platform or trade via a web-based version of the platform if you don’t want to download/install anything in your computer. Web-based platforms are accessible instantly via a web browser. The best US forex brokers also offer mobile trading options (apps) you can use to place trades via your Smartphone, tablet or other portable computing devices while you are on the move. The mobile platform/software should be able to do everything the desktop and web-based versions can do.
Most importantly, the platforms/software should be user-friendly and packed with all the tools you need to trade effectively. For instance, you should have access to all and the latest technical and fundamental forex trading tools (indicators), news feeds, research, economic calendars, live support, custom trading/interface options and much more. The platforms should also be loaded with extensive currency pair selections to allow you to buy or sell just about any currency you want.
- Consider spread, commission and leverage offerings
The success of any forex trader is heavily reliant on the commission their broker charges as well as the leverage they can get. The best forex broker in the US will offer you a low spread (normal trading cost) in line or lower than what most brokers offer worldwide for different currency pairs. Most forex brokers don’t charge commissions on typical trades. However, they can charge a fee for rolling over trades (holding trades for over a week). Non Dealing Desk brokers also charge a commission to transmit orders to the liquidity pool in exchange for giving a trader access to raw interbank spreads.
When considering spread, check if the broker is offering a fixed or variable spread. As the name suggests, fixed spreads stay constant while variable spreads change depending on market activity. Both have cons and pros, although the best brokers offer both options and give traders the freedom to choose.
The best forex brokers also offer favorable leverage limits to traders. Leverage is important for multiplying a trader’s profit. However, it has the opposite effect (increasing a trader’s loss). There are limitations to the leverage US forex traders access from their brokers. According to the NFA, US forex brokers are limited to offering a maximum leverage ratio of 1:50.
- Consider account offering
The broker you select should also offer a variety of account options allowing you to trade with as little and as much money as possible. You should be able to start trading with less than $100. What’s more, the broker should allow a variety of lot sizes via micro and mini accounts, allowing you to risk as little money as possible if you are a beginner. Seasoned traders should have account types that match their needs i.e., a VIP account that allows large lot sizes and offers other additional benefits such as dedicated account management and fund management facilities.
- Consider their deposit and withdrawal options
The best US forex brokers also have easy deposit and withdrawal options. Ideally, you should be able to deposit and withdraw your funds fast and safely via all the popular payment options (credit cards, PayPal, Wire transfer, check, etc.). Ideally, deposits should reflect almost immediately, and withdrawals should be processed within one working day.
- Responsive customer service
Since the fx market is a 24-hour market, the best brokers ensure they offer 24/7 support. You should be able to trade anytime and get in touch with support in case of anything. Most importantly, the best brokers make a point of offering instant/live support services. Avoid brokers who claim to offer 24/7 support, but you can’t speak to a live person. Most brokers are guilty of using automated customer support services that waste time and frustrate traders. Besides ensuring a broker offers live support via an actual person, it’s important to check their waiting times and ability to address problems real-time.
- Consider additional services and features
There are many other considerations to make before you settle on a specific forex broker in the US. The best forex brokers go an extra
mile and provide additional services and features. For instance, you should choose a broker that offers strategy builders, trading alerts, backtesting, customization options, a variety of order entry types, demo or practice accounts, fund security, and Zero slippage guarantee. The best brokers also offer free educational resources, social trading, among other value-added services to help their clients make profits.
Most importantly, you should be able to buy and sell other financial instruments like commodities, cryptocurrencies, stocks, EFTs, CFDs, etc. besides currencies. Additional financial instruments are important for diversification. These services and features are usually present in the trading platforms of the best us forex brokers. Lastly, the broker should have a favorable trading policy that accommodates all trading strategies, including scalping as long as a trader is trading within the rules.