While not a discount broker, FOREX.com is a trusted brand that delivers an excellent trading experience for forex and CFDs traders across the globe.
Top Takeaways for 2021
Here are our top findings on FOREX.com:
- FOREX.com's parent company is publicly-traded (NASDAQ: SNEX) and regulated in four tier-1 jurisdictions, making it a safe broker (low-risk) for trading forex and CFDs.
- FOREX.com earned Best in Class (top 7) awards across four core categories, including Offering of Investments, Platform and Tools, Education, and Mobile Trading.
- With a wide range of markets available, FOREX.com's multi-asset offering shines the most on its flagship Advanced Trading (desktop) and Web Trading (browser) platforms.
- A Global Market Leader! Visit Site
|Offering of Investments|
|Commissions & Fees|
|Platforms & Tools|
Is FOREX.com Safe?
FOREX.com is considered low-risk, with an overall Trust Score of 99 out of 99. FOREX.com is publicly traded, does not operate a bank, and is authorised by four tier-1 regulators (high trust), one tier-2 regulators (average trust), and one tier-3 regulator (low trust). City Index is authorised by the following tier-1 regulators: Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), Japanese Financial Services Authority (JFSA), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Learn more about Trust Score.
|Publicly Traded (Listed)||Yes|
Offering of Investments
The products and services available to you at FOREX.com will depend on where you are located and the applicable entity that holds your account. For example, CFDs are not offered in the US due to regulations, while outside of the US, FOREX.com offers over 4,500 CFDs. Also, knock-out options are now available at FOREX.com in Japan, Singapore, and Australia.
The following table summarizes the different investment products available to FOREX.com clients.
Cryptocurrency: Cryptocurrency trading is available through CFDs, but not available through trading the underlying asset (e.g. buying Bitcoin). Note: Crypto CFDs are not available to retail traders from any broker's UK entity, nor to UK residents.
FOREX.com offering of investments:
|Tradeable Symbols (Total)||4500|
|Forex Pairs (Total)||91|
|US Stock Trading (Non CFD)||No|
|Int'l Stock Trading (Non CFD)||No|
|Social Trading / Copy-Trading||No|
Commissions and Fees
While FOREX.com offers multiple execution methods, three account types, and transparent execution statistics, our research found that FOREX.com is slightly more expensive than the industry average in most scenarios.
Standard account: The Standard account is the only option for MetaTrader clients and would not be my ideal choice. Average spreads are higher at 1.4 pips (1.6 in the US) on the EUR/USD, based on the typical spread data provided to us by FOREX.com (August 2020). All in all, traders seeking the benefits of market-maker execution and who are willing to pay a premium in the form of a higher spread will choose FOREX.com's Standard account.
DMA account (known as the STP PRO account in the US): Globally available and tied to FOREX.com’s proprietary Advanced Trading platform suite, the DMA account offers agency execution and the highest potential discounts at FOREX.com.
- The typical spreads were 0.03 pips on this account during August 2020 for the EUR/USD pair, which totals 1.5 pips after adding the round-turn commission equivalent of 1.2 pips in the base tier.
- The effective all-in cost is nearly the same as the base tier in the Commission account (see below) unless you trade more than $100M per month, where the effective spread drops to 1.1 pips in tier two. Meanwhile, traders that turnover more than $2B per month (tier six) would realize effective spreads of 0.7 pips, comparable to what IC Markets or Tickmill offer.
Commission account (US only): Also tied to FOREX.com’s proprietary trading platforms (no MetaTrader), the Commission account requires a $10K deposit alongside at least $25M in monthly volume. It is designed for medium to high volume traders seeking discounts from FOREX.com's Active Trader program.
- There are five volume tiers with rebates ranging from $2 per million at the base tier to $9 per million for level five.
- The base commission for the lowest tier is otherwise expensive at $10 per Standard lot ($5 per side), which adds about one pip to the typical spreads of 0.8 pips for the EUR/USD (based on August 2020 spread data).
- After factoring the $2 discount equivalent to 0.2 pips, the effective spread is 1.6 pips (this total is based on the typical spread of 0.8 + 1.0 pip round-turn commission equivalent, minus the 0.2 pip discount).
- Bottom line, unless you trade more than $50M per month, the all-in costs are practically the same as the Standard account for US residents, with only the execution method and available platforms being different.
FOREX.com pricing summary:
|Average Spread EUR/USD - Standard||1.4 (UK August 2020)|
|All-in Cost EUR/USD - Active||1.5 (August 2020)|
|Active Trader or VIP Discounts||Yes|
|Execution: Agency Broker||Yes|
|Execution: Market Maker||Yes|
Platforms and Tools
FOREX.com provides forex traders everything they need, and more, to trade effectively. Between the broker's flagship Advanced Trading desktop and Web Trading platform, alongside the full MetaTrader suite, MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5), there are plenty of options available.
Advanced Trading: FOREX.com's flagship desktop platform, Advanced Trading, is best suited for seasoned traders and comes with a robust charting package loaded with a large selection of technical indicators (139 total), drawing tools, and over a hundred pre-defined automated strategies. Technical Analysis and research tools are powered by Trading Central and include its suite of Market Buzz, Technical Insight, and Analyst Views modules. I found the layout well designed and easy to use, yet rich with features. For sake of comparison, I found the Advanced Trading platform to be most comparable to FXCM's proprietary platform.
Web trading: Best suited for casual traders, FOREX.com's Web Trading platform makes it easy to browse through markets, conduct research, and place trades. Charts are powered by TradingView and come loaded with nearly 100 indicators, 14 timeframes, and ten chart types.
- Creating a new layout can be otherwise tedious as windows do not automatically re-arrange and can quickly become cluttered. Aside from that small nuance, alongside a lack of pre-defined layouts, there are advanced order types and features such as the "close all" button, amalgamated positions, and the ability to set a price tolerance (deviation parameter for slippage) for trade executions.
- The platform provides a rich experience. I really like how charts can be saved and used as a default template for new charts, although it requires manual loading each time.
MetaTrader: While FOREX.com's platform suite is already robust and finished Best in Class (top 7) in our testing, the broker also offers the complete MetaTrader suite, including both MT4 and MT5. It's worth noting that there are barely 600 instruments available on the broker's MT5 platform, compared to more than 4500 on its non-MetaTrader platforms.
FOREX.com trading platform:
|Virtual Trading (Demo)||Yes|
|Desktop Platform (Windows)||Yes|
|Social Trading / Copy-Trading||No|
|MetaTrader 4 (MT4)||Yes|
|MetaTrader 5 (MT5)||Yes|
|Charting - Indicators / Studies (Total)||139|
|Charting - Drawing Tools (Total)||25|
|Charting - Trade From Chart||Yes|
|Watchlists - Total Fields||18|
|Order Type - Trailing Stop||Yes|
FOREX.com does a great job of centralizing its research within the Advanced Trading platform and keeping it well organized for traders to access easily.
Research overview: Multiple news channels, automated pattern-recognition modules from Trading Central, and blog updates from FOREX.com's global research team are all available within the Advanced Trading platform. Headlines stream from Reuters and an economic calendar is integrated across the site and platforms.
Written content: I found that FOREX.com produces a variety of quality, written content each day across multiple markets and sector themes, including weekly posts such as its "Currency Pair of the Week" and "Week Ahead" series. There are plenty of articles each day from across the firm's in-house analysts, coupled with content from third-party providers.
Video content: Surprisingly, market-based research in video form is practically non-existent at FOREX.com. Experimenting with video by, for example, syndicating the written content into video, would help FOREX.com reach a wider audience.
|Daily Market Commentary||Yes|
|Forex News (Top-Tier Sources)||Yes|
|Trading Central (Recognia)||Yes|
|Social Sentiment - Currency Pairs||Yes|
When it comes to learning about forex trading, FOREX.com has nearly a hundred written articles that are conveniently organized by experience level. The educational content ranges from 19 beginner articles (excluding platform tutorials), 34 intermediate, and 17 for advanced users. Overall, I found the articles to be of good quality and in-line with the industry average, but not quite best in class.
Video format: Aside from dozens of platform tutorials available on its YouTube channel, FOREX.com doesn't offer a comprehensive selection of educational videos. Video is where competitors like CMC Markets gain a clear upper hand over FOREX.com.
|Has Education - Forex or CFDs||Yes|
|Client Webinars (Archived)||No|
|Videos - Beginner Trading Videos||Yes|
|Videos - Advanced Trading Videos||Yes|
|Investor Dictionary (Glossary)||Yes|
|Tutorials/Guide (PDF or Interactive)||Yes|
Overall, FOREX.com’s mobile offering competes among the best brokers in the industry.
Mobile apps summary: FOREX.com offers a proprietary mobile app alongside the full suite of MetaTrader mobile apps, including MT4 and MT5. FOREX.com's mobile app saw a complete transformation in 2020, bringing it up to speed with the responsive design found in its web-based counterpart, Web Trading.
Mobile research: Several of the highlight features include an economic calendar, an integrated suite of modules from Trading Central, alerts, market updates, and news headlines from Reuters. Trading and managing positions within the mobile app are straightforward thanks to its fluid user interface and minimalist design. The app also supports complex order types, such as OCOs, trailing-stops, and a "close all" button to exit multiple positions quickly in a given instrument.
Mobile charting: The FOREX.com app automatically syncs watch lists and includes easy-to-use charts powered by TradingView, with over 80 indicators and 75 drawing tools. While chart settings do not sync with the web - I found the "load chart layout" field empty - I was glad to see that indicators added in landscape mode save upon exiting the app.
MetaTrader: For traders who prefer MetaTrader, the MT4 and MT5 mobile apps are also available at FOREX.com.
FOREX.com mobile trading:
|Apple iOS App||Yes|
|Alerts - Basic Fields||Yes|
|Watch List Syncing||Yes|
|Charting - Indicators / Studies||88|
|Charting - Draw Trendlines||Yes|
|Charting - Trendlines Moveable||Yes|
|Charting - Multiple Time Frames||Yes|
|Charting - Drawings Autosave||Yes|
FOREX.com is a trusted forex broker that shines thanks to its extensive product offering, excellent platform options and trading tools, and its selection of both in-house and third-party market research.
While its pricing is not rock bottom, FOREX.com delivers a great experience to forex traders of all experience levels.
Founded in 1999, FOREX.com is a GAIN Capital brand under the parent company of StoneX Group (NASDAQ: SNEX), a Fortune 500 company. StoneX holds over $10B in assets as of Q2 2020, with $198M in excess regulatory capital. Through its trading names and subsidiaries, including the City Index brand, Gain Capital operates in multiple countries and with licenses in several major regulatory hubs, including the US, UK, Canada, Japan, and Australia.
GAIN Capital executes an average daily volume of $8.1B for its retail clients in 2020 alone (year-to-date). As an early pioneer in offering online forex trading in the US, FOREX.com remains one of the largest retail FX brokers globally, with over $1.32B in assets and over 93,000 active clients during Q2, 2020. Read more on Wikipedia.
2021 Review Methodology
For our 2021 Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 27 international forex brokers over a three-month time period resulting in over 50,000 words of published research.
Each broker was graded on 108 different variables, including our proprietary Trust Score algorithm. This innovative scoring system ranks the level of trustworthiness for each broker based on factors such as licenses, regulation and corporate structure (read about Trust Score here).
As part of our annual review process, all brokers had the opportunity to provide updates and key milestones and complete an in-depth data profile, which we hand-checked for accuracy.
Ultimately, our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .1% each year, providing site visitors with quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.
Forex Risk Disclaimer
"There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. With respect to margin-based foreign exchange trading, off-exchange derivatives, and cryptocurrencies, there is considerable exposure to risk, including but not limited to, leverage, creditworthiness, limited regulatory protection and market volatility that may substantially affect the price, or liquidity of a currency or related instrument. It should not be assumed that the methods, techniques, or indicators presented in these products will be profitable, or that they will not result in losses." Learn more.
About the author: Steven Hatzakis Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level. Over the past 20 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.