The Best US Forex Brokers for 2020
Finding great forex brokers in the USA is slightly more difficult than in the rest of the world. This is because, as the United States imposes very strict regulations on forex brokers, there are simply fewer firms offering their services to US clients.
Luckily, we’re here to help. To save you time and money, our experts have provided you with a list of the very best forex brokers in the USA.
Each broker on this list has been put through our rigorous review process and meets our high standards. Whilst this list may be short, you can rest assured that all of these US forex brokers are properly licensed too, allowing you to trade in a safe and fair environment.
On this page, you can also learn more about trading forex in the US, including:
- How the US forex market is regulated
- What you will need to sign up to a US forex broker
- Why trading with a US broker is better than with an offshore broker
Top USA Forex Brokers 2020
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How we find the best US forex brokers for you
We know that choosing a forex broker in the USA can be challenging. You want to find a reputable brand that meets all regulatory requirements the United States imposes, but which also offers value for money. The good news is we’ve done all the hard work for you.
Our precise methodology allows us to bring you the best US forex brokers with ease. Our team evaluates each broker against 200 different criteria points in 10 key areas. This includes everything from licenses to customer support options, trading fees to mobile compatibility.
Each category is weighted differently to ensure that our final score reflects the most important things to you as an American trader. For example, as licensing and regulation is a critical category, it makes up 18% of the final score. Paired with reputation, which is also given a higher weighting than other areas, this makes it impossible for unlicensed, rogue US forex brokers to make our list.
Our forex broker review team also checks for various features which appeal specifically to US traders, such as:
- Regulation – A broker working with US citizens must be registered with the CTFC and NFA, even if the firm isn’t located in the United States. We check every broker to make sure they have these licenses.
- Proprietary trading platforms – Some US regulations, such as anti-hedging laws and the ‘first in, first out’ rule, make some trading platforms inappropriate for US traders. We check to make sure that the firm offers a user-friendly, high-quality alternative.
- Localized payment methods – A deposit or withdrawal made via an American payment method will be both faster and cheaper for you. All of our recommended USA forex brokers accept convenient payment methods ranging from Amex credit/debit cards to PayPal.
- Attractive spreads on USD currency pairs – We understand that you may be more comfortable trading what’s familiar, which is why we look for brokers who offer good spreads on USD currency pairs. This not only includes major pairs but exotic pairs that are important to the US economy, such as USD/MXN and USD/CNY, too.
- US stocks, indices, and more – Aside from USD currency pairs, there’s a whole range of other assets that are particularly interesting to American traders. This includes stocks from big US-based companies, such as Apple and Walmart, US indices, such as Dow 30 and NASDAQ 100, and commodities such as crude oil and soybeans.
How is the US forex market regulated?
As a forex trader in the USA, you are protected by two different regulatory bodies. All American forex brokers must have a futures commission merchant (FCM) license, as well as a retail foreign exchange dealer (RFED) license. These licenses are issued by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Licensed brokers must also be members of the National Futures Association.
The CFTC is an independent US regulatory authority that regulates the financial markets for futures contracts, which include commodities and swaps. Founded in 1974, the CFTC’s mission is to ensure a competitive and transparent market that is financially stable. The commission protects consumers and the US economy’s integrity by mitigating a wide range of risks.
The NFA is an independent regulatory authority that specifically targets the US futures and derivatives markets. The NFA ensures the derivatives markets’ integrity while protecting investors and enforcing regulatory obligations on members.
The NFA also deals with registration, compliance, and arbitration. The association also fights against abuse and fraud in the futures markets by imposing registration conditions, compliance regulations, rigorous enforcement, and constant monitoring of the market.
As any forex brokers wishing to serve US traders must be registered with these two organizations, even if the firm is not physically located in the United States, you can rest assured that all of our recommended USA forex brokers are completely safe and secure.
The Dodd-Frank Act and forex
All USA forex brokers are also subject to the Dodd-Frank Act Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2010). This law was introduced to avoid another financial crisis like the one that occurred in 2007-2008.
The Dodd-Frank Act protects both sides of the industry, impacting how forex brokers can operate in the USA as well as how you can trade.
Since the act was introduced, several key provisions have been developed. Below you can learn more about each rule and the purpose it serves.
Provisions for forex brokers
- USA forex brokers must meet minimum capital requirements
Forex brokers in the USA must have a minimum capital of $20 million, plus 5% of any amount exceeding liabilities of $10 million to forex clients. This ensures scams won’t happen and limits the chance of a broker going bust. However, it also makes it difficult for startup firms to exist and limits competition, which could become an issue.
- Forex brokers must collect security deposits
On short forex options, the notional value of the transaction along with the premium must be kept as a security deposit. On long forex options, the whole option premium is required.
- Brokers must hold money in specific accounts
The NFA also states that any money the forex broker owes US forex traders should be kept only in qualifying organizations in the United States or countries deemed money centers.
Provisions for forex traders
- Traders are subject to maximum leverage limits
As an American forex trader, you will be restricted to a maximum leverage of 50:1 for major currency pairs and 20:1 on minor currency pairs.
- Traders must observe the FIFO rule
The first in, first out (FIFO) rule states that a trader must close their oldest position first when they hold multiple positions in the same asset. For example, let’s say you open one long position of 10,000 units of EUR/USD at 1.0810 and then another two at 1.0820 and at 1.0830 respectively. If you notice the EUR/USD drop to 1.0825, you might want to close out the lot you opened at 1.0830 to minimize losses.
According to the FIFO rule, you can’t. You can only close the position you opened at 1.0810 because it was the first one you opened. This also applies to positions that differ in size.
It should be noted that not everyone is subject to the protections of these regulations. Customers are defined as most small businesses and individuals with assets that do not exceed $10 million. An individual with a higher net worth might not be covered.
Why are there so few US forex brokers?
As you can see, our list of the best USA forex brokers is relatively short. This might cause you to worry that trading forex is prohibited in the United States but, fear not, it’s perfectly legal.
So why, if forex trading is legal and safe in the US, why are there so few forex brokers who offer their services to American traders?
The US forex market is heavily regulated
If a broker wants to offer its services to clients in the USA, it must obtain a license from the National Futures Association (NFA). This isn’t quite as straightforward as it is in other areas of the world.
For instance, to obtain a CySEC license, a broker has to have between $100,00 and $500,000 of locked capital. In the US, however, a broker needs at least $20 million. This fee makes it extremely hard for new brokers to enter the market.
It’s difficult to become profitable
Under the rules of the NFA, brokers in America are only allowed to offer certain leverage ratios, namely 50:1 on major currency pairs and 20:1 on all other currency pairs. This cuts into the profit a forex broker in the USA can make.
Wages are also high in the US, which means they must pay more to run their brokerage. Many forex brokers, therefore, don’t consider the US market to be worth the hassle.
What you will need to become a US forex trader
To open a live trading account with a forex broker in the USA, you will need to meet some initial requirements and provide some personal information. Luckily, at all of our recommended broker sites, the process is straightforward.
To make signing up with a US forex broker as easy as possible, our experts have created a complete list of everything you’ll need:
- Aged 18 or over
- United States legal residency
- Social security number
- Personal information; name, address, date of birth, phone number, email
- Employment details; employment status, job title, salary figure, name of employer and employer’s contact information
- Financial details; estimated net worth, source of income
- Forex knowledge; you will be asked a series of questions about forex trading, as well as questions about your trading experience and aims
Once you’ve completed the sign-up process, you’ll also need to verify your account. To do this you’ll need to provide proof of address and proof of identity. As proof of address, many forex brokers in the USA will accept a recent utility bill or bank statement. Your proof of identity can be in the form of a driver’s license, passport or official ID card.
Some brokers might also require information on your bank or third-party broker account numbers for funding purposes, plus routing numbers if you will be making a deposit by check. Note that US regulations prohibit the use of a credit card to fund a forex trading account.
Once you’ve answered the questions and submitted the necessary documentation, if everything checks out, the USA forex broker will open your account. You will then be able to fund it and start trading.
Some forex brokers accepting US traders will also impose restrictions on how much you can deposit. For example, you might be limited to depositing a maximum of 50% of your net worth.
USA forex brokers vs other forex brokers
Forex brokers in the USA offer you a whole host of benefits compared to offshore brokers. These firms do, however, also have some limitations.
In our opinion the advantages of working with a US forex broker outweigh the disadvantages but, to allow you to make your own informed decision, we’ve listed both sides of the argument below.
The benefits of US forex brokers
Here are some of the benefits of working with forex brokers in the USA:
- As all forex brokers working with US traders must be registered with the NFA, you can be certain that your funds are safe. You also have an avenue to resolve any disputes with the broker through arbitration.
- US forex brokers are very unlikely to be unable to cover their obligations to you because of the significant capital requirements.
- The capital requirements also prevent unscrupulous operators from setting up shop in the United States.
- A USA forex broker has to report to the NFA weekly, which means that their operations are transparent. These firms are also subject to comprehensive audits every year.
- The NFA requires forex brokers in the USA to have licensed and specially trained employees, so you have access to great account managers and customer service advisors.
The limitations of USA forex brokers
Trading with a US forex broker means you are completely safe and protected. You will, however, discover these brokers have some limitations:
- Trading with a forex broker in the USA means that you are subject to leverage limitations. The Dodd-Frank Act imposes a maximum leverage of 50:1 for major currency pairs and 20:1 for minors and exotics. By comparison, some forex brokers based in other countries offer leverage as high as 1000:1.
- Both the first in, first out rule and the anti-hedging rule may limit your trading strategy. These rules may also limit what forex trading platforms you can use.
- You cannot use a credit card to fund your live forex trading account.