FOREX.com is one of the largest retail FX brokers in the world. It’s the biggest one in the US, where that’s pretty much all it does -- it only offers trading in currencies and gold & silver (mostly). Outside the US it has also offers CFDs on a wide range of assets in addition to FX and precious metals, such as market indices, individual stocks, bonds, ETFs, and commodities.
The company has its own proprietary trading platforms: a simpler one for beginners and a more advanced one for the more sophisticated trader. They both come complete with a good range of charts and tools for analysis. Anything that they’re missing will be available in one of several add-on packages that are included. Or you can use the MT4 or (in some but not all places) the MT5 platform.
Spreads are about average for the industry. Discounts and rebates are available on a tiered schedule – the more you trade, the more you save. This makes FOREX.com a good choice for large-scale traders. However, high rollers who want to take advantage of these discounts need to use one of the firm’s proprietary platforms, which don’t allow the use of most automated trading robots.
For clients worried about the safety of their money, FOREX.com is among the most highly regulated and transparent firms in the industry. It’s not only regulated in nine jurisdictions, including the three toughest (US, UK, and Japan) but also is a subsidiary of StoneX Group Inc., a large US financial firm listed on the NASDAQ.
FOREX.com is one of the best brokers in the business, particularly for foreign exchange trading, as you might have guessed from its name. It offers a large number of currency pairs and outside the US, a wide variety of other products; an excellent proprietary platform with extensive trading tools; and has a great selection of research, both from its own in-house analysts and from third-party suppliers. Plus it’s regulated in many top-tier jurisdictions and part of a large, publicly traded financial services group.
Its pricing for beginning traders is about in line with the market average. Several programs are available for high-volume traders that bring its pricing down considerably.
FOREX.com is the largest retail forex broker in the US and one of the largest in the world. It’s basically an ECN/STP broker set up as a no-dealing-desk operation. It makes its money either through commissions or by matching customer trades against each other and “crossing” the bid/ask spread.
The parent company, StoneX group, has over 52,000 commercial, institutional, and payments clients and more than 370,000 active retail accounts in more than 180 countries.
In the US it’s largely a forex broker, offering 82 currency pairs. US clients can also trade gold & silver vs USD (with no leverage), and five futures contracts listed on the Small Exchange.In the UK and elsewhere, the company trades forex and CFDs on indices, individual stocks, and commodities, including precious metals. (The US authorities don’t allow CFD trading.)
As we explain below, FOREX.com is regulated in nine jurisdictions all told, including the three strictest in the world (the US, UK, and Japan). Furthermore, FOREX.com’s ultimate parent company, StoneX Group Inc, is ranked #58 in the 2021 Fortune 500 list of the largest US companies by revenue. It’s listed on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange (SNEX) and publishes quarterly reports, giving an added measure of transparency. S&P rates it BB- with a stable outlook (Dec. 2021). Moreover, StoneX Group says “We never engage in proprietary trading,” so you don’t have to worry about some rogue trader accidentally blowing up the company (as happened for example with Baring Bank in 1995 and Société Générale in 2008).
FOREX.com has both two-factor authentication and biometric authentication for its mobile application, so you don’t have to worry about someone stealing your phone while you’re asleep and going long 10 lots of EUR/USD.
Yes, FOREX.com is regulated by an unusually large number of top-tier regulators. The company (or its parent company, GAIN Capital UK Ltd.), is regulated in no fewer than seven Tier 1 jurisdictions, one Tier II, and one Tier III. They are:
In the US, it’s a registered Futures Commission Merchant (FCM) and Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer (RFED) with the National Futures Association (NFA). In order to register as such, firms must meet various Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) guidelines.
See our section on Regulators to see what benefits and protection being regulated in each jurisdiction offers (or doesn’t offer, as the case may be).
Yes, it was started in the US and the US is its home market.
The corporate headquarters of FOREX.com and GAIN Capital Group is in Bedminster, New Jersey in the US. FOREX.com also has an office in London and in Cyprus while GAIN Capital has an office in Tokyo. FOREX.com’s ultimate parent company, StoneX Group, is headquartered in New York City. It has 2,700 employees in more than 40 offices around the world.
Let’s start from the beginning. GAIN Capital Holdings Inc., a US-based provider of online trading services, was founded in 1999 in the state of New Jersey “with a clear mission: to provide traders with low cost access to foreign exchange markets,” according to their website. It was one of the earliest participants in online forex trading. It founded FOREX.com in 2001. GAIN went public in 2010 when it floated its shares on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2014 the company acquired UK-based CFD and spread-betting broker City Index, which is still going strong under its own brand name.
GAIN Capital was acquired in 2020 by StoneX Group Inc., a US financial services company that started out in 1921 as Mr. Stone selling eggs door-to-door in Chicago. It’s a great story how the company grew from selling agricultural products to hedging in the agricultural futures market to a futures broker to one of the largest US companies, a Fortune 100 financial conglomerate with a market cap of $1.89bn. StoneX trades on the NASDAQ with the symbol SNEX. They’re still very big in commodities as well as commercial hedging, global payments, securities, and clearing and execution services (CES), as well as FX of course. Through its various subsidiaries (including Daniels Trading, a futures advisory trading firm), StoneX serves more than 370,000 active retail accounts across more than 180 countries as well as over 52,000 commercial, institutional and payments clients. It holds over $8.6bn in customer assets.
With this much money backing it, with quarterly reports, and with regulators in eight jurisdictions poring over the accounts, well, if this company can’t be trusted I don’t know which company can. Size is no guarantee (Lehman Bros. had a market cap of nearly $60bn before its troubles began) nor is longevity (Barings was 233 years old when it blew up), but something would have to be seriously, seriously wrong for the parent company, StoneX Group, to go under. I was especially impressed that StoneX specifically says that it does not engage in proprietary trading, because that’s the way most accidents happen at these firms. Of course, the line between “hedging” and “trading” is sometimes difficult to discern, but I don’t expect them to have any Nick Leesons (Barings Bank) or Jérôme Kerviels (Société Générale).
Leverage will vary according to the regulatory jurisdiction.
Forex.com offers three main types of accounts:
Standard account: This one uses their proprietary trading platform. It offers competitive spreads with no commissions on FX, indices, and commodities
Commission account (US only): This is a special account for high rollers who trade a lot. It requires a $10k deposit and you have to trade at least $25mn a month. It’s designed for people who want to take advantage of the firm’s Active Trader program (see below). It too uses their proprietary trading platform.
MT4 account: For those who prefer to use the MT4 platform, FOREX.com again offers competitive spreads with no commissions on forex, equities, commodities, and indices. Plus Reuters News and Trading Central are fully integrated into the platform.
DMA account (or “STP Pro” in the US): DMA stands for “direct market access.” As we mention elsewhere, with DMA accounts the broker connects you directly with their liquidity providers and you trade at the spread that they offer. In this case, FOREX.com takes a commission rather than a spread. The more you trade, the lower the commission. These accounts are generally for experienced traders who are trading in size – the minimum trade in this case is 100k of whatever base currency you’re trading, plus you have to meet some volume requirements. And you’re not eligible for the Active Trader Program, since this account already has its own tiered discount schedule.
Active Trader Program: This program gives you cash rebates ranging from 4% to 15% of the volume you trade, one-on-one support from a Market Strategist, and they reimburse your bank fees on wire transfers. For new clients, you automatically qualify when you fund your account with an initial deposit of $10k or trade $50mn a month. Not available in all countries. For existing clients, you have to maintain an average daily balance of at least $25k.
Raw Spread Account: This one offers narrower spreads – down to zero on some pairs – but with a fixed $5 commission.
There are also corporate accounts but we won’t go into those.
One warning: FOREX.com of course offers demo accounts (we usually don’t mention them as every firm has them) but theirs have a twist: they expire after some time (30 or 90 days, depending on which platform & location) and you can’t extend them or even apply for a new one with the same credentials. In other words, they figure after a month or three you’ve had enough time to judge whether you want to open an account. Either do it or don’t.
There are no deposit fees, although of course your bank may charge you for wiring the money in. Nor are there any withdrawal fees.
Inactivity fee: Accounts that have been inactive for more than 12 months are subject to a $15-a-month inactivity fee. Frankly if you haven’t used your account in a year, you should close down your account, get your money back, and use it somewhere.
As for trading fees and spreads, it’s hard to say specifically because of the tiered commission system. How much you pay is directly related to how much you trade: the more you trade, the less you pay. Plus the combination of spreads and tiered commissions makes it impossible to calculate exactly what all-in cost you’ll face.
Standard account: The firm lists its “typical” spread (the median) over the last month in EUR/USD as 1.5 pips, going as low as 1.2 pips. USD/JPY is 1.8 (1.1), GBP/USD 1.6 (1.1). Spreads vary second-by-second.
Commission (or raw spread) account: These accounts have narrower spreads than the standard account – e.g. 0.2 pip for EUR/USD -- but also require a flat $5 commission per standard lot (100k of the base currency), so $10 to get in and out of the trade. Outside the US these accounts are only available on MT5.
DMA Account (STP Pro in the US): FOREX.com doesn’t add on any spread at all here. It’s just what’s available from the market at that time. The company adds a commission that varies depending on your average volume over the last three months. There are five tiers, ranging from $80 per $1mn trade for those who trade under $100mn a month to $30 per $1mn trade for those who trade over $1bn a month. We’d like to know you if you’re trading more than $1bn a month.
Typical spreads for this account for EUR/USD are tiny – 0.1 pip to 0.3 pip or so – but the commission is equivalent to around 1.2 pips, making the total cost around 1.3-1.5 pip, so not much difference from the standard account after all unless you trade a whole lot.
Active trader account: With this program you pay the same spread as with the standard account but get a rebate on your trades. There are five tiers of rebates, ranging from $3 per $1mn trade for those who trade $50mn-$100mn a month to $10 per $1mn for those who trade over $1bn a month. The savings work out to 5%-15% vs the
With spreads varying second-by-second and not knowing your volume, it’s hard to say which account is cheapest.
The assets you can trade with FOREX.com vary according to your location.
In the US it’s largely a forex broker – surprise surprise. The company lists 82 currency pairs, which is more than many other brokers do (and probably about 78 more than you need. I mean, does anyone actually bother to trade EUR/DKK???) This includes the major currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CHF, AUD, NZD, CAD, NOK, and SEK) and 13 more exotic currencies (CNH, CZK, DKK, HKD, HUF, ILS, MXN, PLN, SGD, THB, TRY, and ZAR. They list RUB too but it’s not currently available, for obvious reasons.)
You can also trade gold & silver vs USD (with no leverage), and five futures contracts listed on the Small Exchange, a new market in Chicago that just started in 2020. “The Small Exchange offer standardized futures products that are small, standard and simple across indices made up of some of the most traded and liquid underlying assets,” according to the FOREX.com website. The indices they list are Small Stocks 75 Index, Small US Dollar Index, Small Precious Metals Index, Small 10yr US Treasury Yield Index, and Small Global Oil Index.
You can trade futures through their affiliate, FuturesOnline, but that’s a different company and you would need to open a separate account.
In the UK and elsewhere, the company trades forex and CFDs on indices, individual stocks, and commodities, including precious metals. (The US authorities don’t allow CFD trading.)
Forex: See above, with two more currency pairs available in the UK (USD/RON and EUR/RON).
Indices: I counted 17 stock market indices, including most of the major markets (four US indices, UK, China, Hong Kong, Japan, etc) and a few smaller ones (Netherlands, Switzerland). This should be enough for most traders.
Stocks: The company trades CFDs on over 5,500 stocks from around the world. These are CFDS on shares, not the actual shares themselves, so you can go short just as easily as you go long. One interesting service: they offer trading outside of market hours on 70 major US stocks. That’s worthwhile because many times companies wait until after the market closes to make major announcements. This way you can get in or out before the market opens.
Commodities: You can trade CFDs on US crude oil (WTI), natural gas, and several agricultural commodities (coffee, cotton, orange juice, soybean oil, lean hogs, and live cattle). In addition, they offer gold vs a variety of currencies (USD, AUD, CHF, EUR, GBP, JPY) as well as silver vs USD. This is not the most extensive list of commodities I’ve ever seen on a brokerage website, although it’s probably more than enough for most people. My main gripe would be, for a European audience, no Brent?
Also, knock-out options are now available at FOREX.com in Japan, Singapore, and Australia. Knock-out options cease to exist – become worthless -- if the value of the underlying asset reaches a predetermined level before maturity. In other words, reaching that level will “knock out” the option. This limits the amount that the option seller can lose and therefore means they’re willing to sell the options more cheaply.
Cryptocurrency: Cryptocurrency trading is available at FOREX.com 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. Note that you can only trade cryptos with FOREX.com through MT5.
Hedging and scalping are allowed.
FOREX.com doesn’t charge any fees for incoming deposits – though your bank may charge you depending on the method used (i.e., when sending a wire).
The minimum deposit is 100 units of whatever your base currency is, unless of course you’re in Japan, where it’s going to be JPY 10,000.
Accounts are available in a large number of base currencies: USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, JPY, CHF, AUD, HUF, and PLN although not all base currencies are available in all regions.
There are no withdrawal fees. Credit/debit card withdrawals and PayPal are immediate, wire transfers may take one or two business days, unless the name of your account is different than the name on your bank account, in which case of course they’ll have to investigate. (It’s the same for every broker. This is a government money laundering regulation.) I wonder if having an account under Marshall Gittler and a bank account under Marshall A. Gittler would trigger an investigation?
I must say, I found the firm’s website on this topic to be pretty confusing. They spend a lot more time discussing how wonderful they are than they do actually telling you what they offer. This goes for a lot of the details of their business in fact. I found it difficult to find solid information on their website as opposed to marketing fluff.
You can trade with either FOREX.com’s proprietary platform, called Web Trader, or through the mobile versions of it on your phone. Or you (maybe) can use the well-known MT4 or MT5 platforms. I say “maybe” because US and UK clients can’t use MT5. I couldn’t get an answer on which regions can use MT5.
US clients can also use NinjaTrader, which is a separate futures trading company that makes its sophisticated trading platform available to other brokers.
The proprietary platforms have TradingView integrated into them, which gives you access to that company’s many different charts, indicators, and its trading community. That’s good enough for most people as it’s a pretty comprehensive charting package. If that isn’t enough, you can also access Trading Central through the platform as well. Between those two the proprietary platforms have pretty much all the trading tools & analysis anyone could want.
It’s easy to place trades. You can bring up an order window directly from charts by either right-clicking on the chart and selecting the “trade” option, or by clicking on the buttons on the top of the chart. There’s a full range of different orders available. If that takes too much time you can enable one-click trading. But be careful your cat doesn’t walk across the keyboard!
Of course you can also add or withdraw funds, view the history of your trades, create watchlists, and read the news.
Here's the main thing I was really confused about. Although the website only mentions the Web Trader, if you dig around enough you’ll find that FOREX.com offers yet another platform, the Advanced Trading platform.It’s apparently accessed through the Web platform. As you might assume, the Advanced Trading platform is aimed at advanced traders and is probably more than the average client would want. It features special order types you’ll never need and can be customized to utilize a lot of small features that you never thought of but that someone trading a lot would find useful.
The key differences between the firm’s proprietary platforms and MT4/MT5 are:
You can see a comparison between FOREX.com’s own platforms and MT here.
The fact that you can only access the Commission Account or STP Pro on the proprietary platforms (at least in the US and UK) yet you can’t use outside robots or access VPS hosting on them seems a bit contradictory to me. The high-rolling clients who would make most use of the Commission Account or STP Pro are also those who would be most likely to use algorithmic trading, IMHO.
FOREX.com’s trading platform has four basic order types:
As well as several time-limited orders, such as
In addition, the trader can attach “take profit” or “stop-loss” orders to them, including making the stop-loss a trailing stop-loss order. Guaranteed stop-loss orders are only available on the downloadable platform, not the web-based platform, and only to UK & EU clients.
You get all the data you’d expect on your transactions, balances, and how much money you made (hopefully!). You also get a ton of analytics to gain insights into your trading behavior and your performance. The portfolio and fee reports are clear and comprehensive and can be downloaded easily.
There’s a wide variety of trading and charting tools built into their platforms, with around 90 technical indicators available to clutter up your charts with all sorts of random lines. If that’s not enough, as mentioned above, you get access to TradingView and Trading Central. Either one of them is probably enough, both are certainly more than you’ll ever need in terms of charts, indicators, and trading ideas. You also get access to Reuters news and a lot of proprietary news and analysis (see below). The “premium” and “pro” accounts can receive research tailored to their needs.
There are alerts on both the web and mobile platforms to let you know when an asset reaches your price target and when your orders are filled. And the technology will automatically execute your trade at a better price than what you specified if the market moves in your favor.
Finally, FOREX.com offers “SMART Signals,” which are trading signals based on an automated algorithm that monitors 23 FX pairs, 10 major stock indices, and gold. They use years of data to identify reoccurring patterns that can be used to make decisions, although of course you have to remember that “past performance is no guarantee of future performance.”
FOREX.com doesn’t offer any copy trading services or ways to chat with other clients.
FOREX.com's educational and informational offerings are top-notch. The research team has an astonishing 15 people writing for it and presenting seminars, putting it on par with many of the top investment banks (although it seems that not all the members are equally active).
The “News and Analysis” tab is divided into “latest research,” “Financial Market Insights,” “Trade Ideas,” “Economic Calendar,” and “Weekly Updates.” There seems to be some variation on how often these are updated. When I took a look, the “Latest Research” page had seven articles just from that day alone, but the “eekly Updates” page only had one from this year, one from 2021, and then the rest from 2020.
There’s also a tab for “Trading Alerts” that will give you some trading ideas, plus a drop-down menu with “Popular Topics” so you can read up on any topics that interest you, such as Inflation, Ukraine War, etc.
Then there’s the “Academy” tab, the gateway to their educational offering. This consists 10 “courses” of three to 9 lessons each, ranging from “introduction to financial markets” to “advanced risk management.” There’s also a separate section of 60 brief “lessons,” also graded by experience. All of these are articles, not videos. Through these you’ll learn the basics of the markets: technical and fundamental analysis, risk management, and a number of trading strategies. You won’t become George Soros overnight but it should allow you to understand what’s going on.
Then there are numerous webinars, such as “Weekly Strategy Webinar” and “Price Action Webinar.”
There are also 16 short videos, mostly but not entirely about how to use the platform. The preponderance of written commentary over videos is unusual. Personally I prefer to read rather than listen, but I think that may be a generational thing. The company also has 45 videos on its YouTube channel, but again most of these are about how to use their platform.
This is just the in-house product. Trading Central also provides a tsunami of technical analysis articles every day, and there’s the Reuters and Dow Jones news feed to keep track of.
One of the most useful educational tools though is not in the education section. It’s the performance analytics included in FOREX.com’s platform. It uses your trading history to analyze your performance by strategy, timing, and psychology so that you can better understand how you actually behave under pressure. As boxer Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” You may have a trading plan until the market punches you in the wallet. See how you respond and learn to control yourself.
There are many ways that clients can get help at FOREX.com. Your first port of call will probably be the detailed FAQ. If that doesn’t work, try the chatbot, which is OK if your question fits nicely into the categories that they offer – but my guess is that their categories are probably the same as the FAQ, so if it wasn’t in the FAQ, the chatbot probably won’t be much help either. If you can’t solve your problem that way, you can always ask to be transferred to an agent or a person (don’t try “human being” or “carbon-based life form” as the chatbot doesn’t recognize those). I found myself quickly transferred to a person most times and had no problems getting answers to my questions each time.
Or you can call them directly 24/5 from 22:00 GMT Sunday to 22:00 GMT Friday. That’s the easiest and quickest way to get hold of a person. They pick up the phone pretty quickly and seem to know their stuff.
There’s also a contact form if you prefer to write them a little note, but I wouldn’t advise it. That can take one to three days for a response and besides, one of the responses I got had nothing to do with the question I asked.
FOREX.com is indeed a good broker for beginners. It has an excellent proprietary platform that doesn’t present too many complications for the newbie and yet has a complete suite of features, including charts, indicators, and risk management tools. Or you can use the industry-standard MT4 platform. The pricing model is straightforward and within the normal range for brokers.
Of particular importance for beginning traders is the supply of information and education. In this respect, the glass is three-quarters full, we might say. That is, the educational content is good but not the best in the market – there are a good number of articles and videos on how to use the platform and also a structured course on trading that will take you from beginner to advanced.
The place where FOREX.com really shines though is in its provision of day-to-day information and trading ideas. Between their huge in-house team and the information that they provide from other sources such as Trading Central, you could spend your whole day reading instead of trading. (In fact at the beginning you should spend your whole day reading instead of trading! You have to walk before you can run.) There are also a lot of live webinars that you can watch to pick up tips.
Plus, the performance analytics offer a unique opportunity to get feedback on your own performance and improve your trading skills.
On the other hand, there’s no facility for copy trading or for discussing trades with other clients, nor are there many “buy-and-hold” investment options. You have to be willing to make your own decisions (which is why you want to become a trader in the first place, no?)
All this plus tight regulation in many jurisdictions to provide one of the safest financial companies you can find.
Regardless of how or what you trade, the broker you choose should be safe to use, affordable, and offer everything you need to trade at your best. That’s why we’re highly selective. We only feature brokers regulated by a trusted authority and we make it easy to compare their fees & features, so that you can make an informed choice.
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