Last update: 5 March 2020
11 min read

Introducing Brokerage Fees

The question “What are brokerage fees?” is one which invariably crops up quite early on your forex journey. Whether you have started to trade for the first time or are moving to a new forex broker, it is a question which you will want to investigate in full detail.

These are the exact details we will provide you with on this page. Here you will learn everything there is to know on the topic from our expert team, and finish up with an honest, well-rounded knowledge of brokerage fees.

What Are Brokerage Fees?

In general terms, a brokerage fee is any fee provided by a broker which they charge a fee for. This can span a whole range of services, and even industries, though we most commonly associate the term with finance and consultancy firms.

Developing a more comprehensive understanding of the terminology around brokerage fees and how they are relevant to your own costs can really make a difference when you are selecting a brokerage in any industry, though we will be taking a closer look at finance and particularly forex broker fees to see how you can choose the best forex broker with the most competitive fee structure to match your trading needs.

Understanding Typical Brokerage Fees

Typically, brokers in the forex or wider finance industry can charge a number of fees for the services they provide related to managing your investments. These could be trading fees, research and education fees, charges for any consultations or advice which is given, or fees related to your trading activity such as commissions, inactivity fees, and rollover charges.

These are some of the most typical brokerage fees which you are likely to encounter, particularly in the forex trading sector. When you ask, ‘What is a brokerage fee?’ the answer can be applied to many different types of fees which are all related to the management of your investment.

Considering brokerage fees, services are usually broken into two major categories of broker. Full-service brokers, and discount brokers.

What Is the Difference Between a Full-Service Broker and a Discount Broker?

Traditionally, there is a sizable difference between the two and the brokerage fees they apply. Our professional team has investigated both fee types in order to present the positive and negatives associated with each and how they may apply to your trades.

Full-Service Brokers

When considering the subject of brokerage fees, the type of brokers which usually spring to mind first are full-service brokers. These types of brokers typically take care of almost every aspect of your portfolio management, which can include research, consultations, and more.

These brokerage types may be perfect for you in a number of the following scenarios:

  • You are new to the finance or trading industry and want an experienced professional to manage your wealth and trading accounts;
  • You are a busy person without the time required to oversee all the research and analytics recommended to build a successful portfolio;
  • You wish to benefit from the advice and experience of a finance professional in the management of your investments.

For all the benefits a full-service broker can bring to the table, there are also a couple of drawbacks you may want to consider:

  • Full-service brokerage fees are typically substantially higher than those of discount brokers.

Although the fees for using full-service brokerage can be high, it is worth noting that they have become more and more competitive in recent years thanks to the rise of discount brokers and the range of services they provide. Many VIP forex brokers accounts also provide substantial additional benefits such as reduced spreads and fees.

Discount Brokers

Discount brokers are those who are focused primarily on the execution of trades. This means they are typically always much cheaper in terms of your trading cost. This money saving is perfect if you are happy to manage your own portfolio and decide your own trades.

While they do not provide a great deal of step-by-step support, the reality is that the service you receive from the best online discount brokers is also advancing all the time. This means that not only will you save money on fees, you will also have control over all of your own fees.

There is also a great selection of educational material from other resources such as our forex academy, which can assist you in getting the very best trading education possible to combine with your use of a discount broker.

The likelihood is that as your trading experience and portfolio expand, you may find yourself in the same position as many traders, switching between broker types. This is something you can do in order to make sure all your needs are met. These will evolve as your own trading future evolves.

Regardless which broker type you choose to engage with, the brokerage fees will vary slightly within both categories depending on the final broker choice you make. To that end, it is difficult to answer the question “What are brokerage fees and how much will they be?” precisely.

There are several broker fee types that you will almost certainly encounter though. Let’s take a look at the most common types of brokerage fee below.

Typical Brokerage Fees

Whether you are trading with full-service brokerage, or through one of the many discount brokers, there are several categories of brokerage fee that you will likely encounter. For that reason, as well as carefully vetting all of the top online forex brokers, we have broken down the terms you will find, with a short explanation of each. This way, you will know exactly what you are up against the next time you see this terminology:

Trade Commissions

Trade commissions are commonplace with many brokers. Even top forex brokers will typically have account options where trading includes a commission. These accounts are usually zero-spread or very competitive in terms of the spread charges so as to offset the cost of the commission.

Broker commissions can vary greatly depending on the pricing structure they have in place, but even with traditional full-service brokers there are usually options to trade in NTF mutual funds. These no transaction fee funds are just one way in which you can trade and save.


The spread is a type of cost you will encounter regardless of which broker type you choose. This is the marginal difference between the actual market price and the price your broker is offering. For many forex brokers, this fee is highly competitive and often starts from nothing at all depending on your account type.

The spreads on a market can be fixed or variable and they typically increase when applied to the more volatile markets that your broker offers for trading.

Rollover Fee

The rollover or overnight fee is one which your broker charges to keep your positions open overnight. This acts as an interest of sorts and typically varies both between markets and brokers. There will usually always be a limit on how long you can hold a position open overnight.

Banking Service Fees

Banking service fees from brokerages and forex brokers in particular can usually be narrowed down to a few key fee types. These are deposit and withdrawal fees as well as any kind of transfer fees which may be levied from your institution.

Full-service brokers may insist on your banking provider being tethered to them and the money transferred into this account for trading. This is becoming less and less prevalent though.

Again, the best online discount brokers and many major forex brokers try to keep fees to a minimum, often free for deposits and withdrawals and in many cases with rebates available for bank transfer fees above a certain amount.

Account Closing and Inactivity Fees

Account closing fees may be something which impacts you if you are invested in IRAs and other types of funds with a full-service broker. This can be something similar to an early withdrawal fee which you may have if you access your 401K ahead of time.

In the forex trading world, and that of discount brokers though, the only fees you are likely to see resembling these are inactivity fees. These are typically imposed after a period of between 6-12 months of no trading activity on your account.

With the typical brokerage fees in mind, anticipating such expenses related to your forex journey soon becomes second nature. But what are the most important factors to consider when comparing fees at different brokers and how can you get the most out of your budget?

To help you answer this question, we’ve drawn up a checklist of key factors to keep in mind when it comes to brokerage fees comparison. To get a head start in navigating brokerage fees with confidence and ease, it’s always a good idea to consider the pointers listed below.

How to Calculate Brokerage Fees like a Pro

When you are looking into which brokers offer the best brokerage fees and the general issue of what are brokerage fees, there are always a few important tips which you can avail of.

Our expert team has collected these useful pieces of advice to help you in making the best choices possible.

Choose a Regulated Broker

Selecting a broker that is well-regulated is a key to your all-round trading success. This applies to fees in the sense that, with the adequate regulation in place, you can trust that a broker is fully compliant. This transparency is something which should permeate the entire operation and make sure that all fees are at least clear and disclosed from the beginning of your relationship.

Make Sure a Broker Meets Your Needs

Naturally, whether you are paying broker fees or not, you still need to make sure that the broker satisfies all of your needs.

Are you just starting out and looking for a broker which offers an unlimited demo account and quality educational materials? These are usually found at full-service brokers, so you may need to prepare for higher fees. On the other hand, if you’d rather have more control and you’re already comfortable with your trading routine, a discount broker could help you cut unnecessary costs.

Either way, you can be more at ease when it comes to paying brokerage fees if you are receiving the service you expect.

Compare Broker Accounts

This is an important part of the process when you are coming to terms with paying your brokerage fees. You should always take the time to compare both rival brokers, and other types of brokers, for example, full-service vs discount broker, to ensure you are getting the best deal to suit your trading needs.

Take Advantage of New Account Offers

From time to time, you may see some brokers, particularly those regulated outside the CySEC area, offering some of the best online forex bonuses. Once you have read and understood the terms and conditions, these can really help you to gain a positive start under this type of broker.

Consider Alternative Solutions

If you are not quite ready to take on a full, live broker account, there are always opportunities to open free forex demo accounts with many of the best forex brokers to hone your skills. These should have no brokerage fees attached.

Another option may be to try out a forex trading robot. These advanced tools can take care of all trades for you within preset risk parameters and are excellent for those who prefer the hands off approach.

Ultimately, full-service and discount broker fees are just one aspect of finance, trading, and the best forex brokers. They are reducing and changing all of the time. The shifting market is something you should factor in while taking a look at our forex broker comparison list. This is the perfect tool for you to check out prior to making your next broker related decision.


How much do Forex brokers charge?

Fees charged by forex brokers change between both brokers and account types, although typically nowadays, modern forex brokers offer very competitive fee structures which help reduce your trading costs significantly.

Do Forex brokers make money?

Yes, although more than just directly from fees, the profits which they do make will usually come from the spread. This is a marginal and very competitive markup which the broker adds to the market price of a particular asset for each trade.

How are brokerage fees calculated?

There are often a variety of different algorithms at work in the calculation of brokerage fees, although these will all vary distinctly depending on the needs and wishes of each broker.

Are brokerage fees tax deductible?

In certain instances this can be the case, although whether or not the fees will be deductible ultimately depends on the funds you have invested in.

How can brokerage fees be reduced?

The best way in which you can work to reduce your broker fees is by performing in-depth research and comparing all of your available options prior to signing up.

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