Making the best broker comparison is a difficult task that requires time and often also experience and knowledge. Sticking to each of the criteria that need to be evaluated when finding the ideal broker is not easy and that is why we have developed this online broker comparison. With it, you can easily compare brokerages, stockbrokers, cryptocurrencies, and many other instruments.
Compare brokers for online trading
Online trading is an activity that brings together a growing community for various reasons, but all of them revolve around a common idea: the dream of obtaining great financial benefits quickly and easily. Broker trading is the material opportunity that creates a bridge between the reality of many traders - a fantastic ignorance of stock market investments - and the financial markets with their plethora of financial instruments.
But is one broker as good as another? Do they offer all the same services and investment guarantees? Are there certain points of vigilance that should be taken to minimize the chances of falling for a scam? What makes a broker the best online broker?
In our online broker comparison, we will try to detail the fundamental points that allow us to objectively identify a broker. We'll also give you some tips to help you choose a trading platform that suits your skill level, your assets, and your investment strategy.
What is a broker?
Before going into a technical explanation, we find it very important to refocus the discussion on the main notion of this online broker comparison: what is a broker?
A Forex broker, or online broker, is an authorized intermediary that connects retail forex traders with the foreign exchange market. In exchange for easy access and a user-friendly interface for real-time ordering, a broker is paid primarily through brokerage fees, mostly in the form of commissions (or spread).
This online broker comparison that we are going to propose refers by default to a particular category of brokers. Namely, the CFD broker. The essence of this intermediary lies in the concept that it operates on the notion of Contract for Difference (CFD).
In short, it is a particular type of trading that allows traders to speculate on various assets – stocks, currencies, commodities, etc. – and trade with them. – in short, it is a special type of trading that allows traders to speculate on various assets – stocks, currencies, commodities, etc. – simply with the upward or downward trends of their prices in the stock market.
A CFD broker does not physically buy the products. It is what is called a market maker. It reflects the financial markets in real-time.
An online broker uses specialized software to offer clients an interface and infrastructure optimized for trading on the web. MetaTrader – with its multiple versions: MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, MetaTrader WebTrader and MetaTrader Supreme Edition – is currently the leading provider of online trading interfaces on the market.
The software is both flexible and is the battery of online trading-oriented tools: dynamic charts, auto trading robot, technical analysis, personalized profile for efficient portfolio management.
Now that we know what a broker is, let's move on to the next step: the criteria to pay attention to when choosing the best broker.
Broker accounts in comparison - How to select the best broker?
There are a large number of elements that are important in choosing your trading broker. We have compiled as exhaustive a list as possible of the components that we believe are relevant and that is favored by a large majority of merchant expectations. We will explain point by point why it is necessary to insist on them before creating a merchant account.
A regulated broker
In our opinion, the first guarantee is to make sure. Is my broker regulated? If he is, it means that he has received certifications from the financial market regulatory authorities. Whether by geographical area, like Cyprus Securities Exchange Commission (CySEC), which oversees a large part of the European area, or by country, as in the case of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which controls and regulates each broker in the UK
Although it is essential that the broker you are trading with is regulated, this does not protect you 100% from potential rogue traders. For example, various experts tend to point fingers at brokers based in Cyprus, thus regulated by CySEC, because Cypriot laws are more flexible than French ones. If you live in the UK and want to cover yourself to the maximum, always choose a broker that has obtained the FCA authorization.
A reliable, high-performance interface
Investors found at CFD brokers are mostly made up of novice traders eager to make a profit. Therefore, they will naturally move towards a trading platform that favors short-term investment strategies like scalping . In order to obtain convincing results, recourse to reactive, dynamic and especially reliable IT tools is therefore mandatory.
Taking a few minutes to learn about the software that manages the trader's interface: client area, order placement, charts, advanced analysis, etc. – may be a reasonable approach. At the moment we can identify 2 main programs
- the MetaTrader suite that is widely represented among CFD brokers
- ProRealTime, which is making a name for itself in the online stock market offered by brokers
If neither of these two infrastructures appears during your search, chances are your operations are not very secure. Home trading platforms are never the preferred solution. Unless, perhaps, you are the designer and are confident in your encoding and prediction algorithm.
The speed of execution of your orders is essential to optimize your chances of winning. Even more on short-term money management. The trading platform must reflect the reality of prices.
One more little trick. Any website that wants to be the best forex broker, for example, offers a powerful mobile app that offers identical capabilities to the browser version. Under Android or iOS, ideally all mobile devices would care.
Being profitable in online trading is not only due to the accuracy of your investments in the stock market. Transaction costs figure prominently in the performance balance of your asset portfolio. There are two types of fees: brokerage fees and management fees.
The broker's fees include all charges made by the broker for the management of your positions:
- the margins or commissions that are calculated in pips. They correspond to a percentage of the remuneration taken from the difference between the purchase price at the opening of the position and the sale price at its closing. An attractive broker focuses his margins on currency and short-term investments, and takes nothing on long positions.
- costs related to your strategic choices, such as overnight or overnight fees when a position remains open from session to session
Management fees cover everything else. Everything related to the management of your trader account and your portfolio of financial instruments:
- any charges for deposits or withdrawals. Favor brokers who make contributions on incoming and outgoing transactions
- currency exchange fees that can sometimes be as high as 3%
- dormant fees when a portfolio sits idle for a certain period of time. Often 90 days with a fixed withdrawal of the remaining capital in the account
Investment strategies supported
We are not all similar investors. Our resistance to stress, ambitions, knowledge, and financial goals are different. This is why there are almost as many investment strategies as there are traders. Therefore, when looking for your best broker, you must be sure of the opportunities that are available to you.
Some online brokers allow short-term investments such as scalping or day trading which refers to traders who view and manage their portfolios on a daily basis. Others ban these practices to create an environment where swing trading is central, i.e. medium to long-term positions such as with a stock CFD broker.
Security of funds
This is an element that concerns the reliability of a trading platform. In the UK, the FCA requires investors' funds to be guaranteed by an independent bank in order to be certified. This is called the segregation of funds. In other words, if the broker goes bankrupt, investors are guaranteed to get all or part of their capital back. This is often a minimum value with a maximum limit. This is a serious guarantee that should not be overlooked.
For example, XTB has established segregation of funds in association with the bank BNP Paribas with a maximum endowment per trader of 22,000 euros.
Trading account type
Not everyone has the same level of stock trading skills. As a result, not everyone has the same needs when it comes to analytical tools or access to specific products. A multiple option trading account is a point to consider.
The demo account is a positive signal sent by a broker, as it allows you to test their trading platform, in real conditions and for free. An excellent opportunity to confront yourself, especially for beginners, with the reality of the trading markets, the true potential of an investment portfolio, and the tools to achieve your goals.
A CFD broker can be refused at different levels of access:
- starting with analysis and a limited number of financial instruments that meet the basic needs of traders with limited knowledge
- possibly an intermediary account to expand the catalog, the possibilities of actions and analysis at the same time
- a Pro or Premium account with adjusted rates on brokerage and administration and other benefits such as a personalized manager
The management instruments to be taken into account also refer to the leverage effect that can be customized or not and the type of instruments available: currency pairs, stocks, commodities, stock indices, cryptocurrencies, ETFs. The wider the choice, the further you can go towards precise customization of your portfolio; or choose a particular type of broker geared towards forex or cryptocurrencies, for example.
Training and support
We believe that the best agent must provide quality educational and technical follow-up. Ideally, a beginning trader should have at their disposal a set of training materials to help them understand the world of finance applied to the financial markets. We have already mentioned the pivot that represents the demo account. These materials can be based on different formats, such as live trading, webinars, tutorials, expert blog articles, general FAQs, and explanations of Forex market news. As you progress, new modules are made available to improve trading performance. The support must be progressive, even when the investor is experienced or even professional.
Customer service also plays an important role, since operations are carried out on financial markets around the world with wide time intervals. Advisors must be knowledgeable, attentive, and available in multiple languages. For example, 24/7 live chat, email, and phone customer support are good examples of this.
Cost-effectiveness and accessibility
Last criterion, is a little more anecdotal. It turns out that many analysts tend to encourage traders to play it safe by protecting their capital by never investing more than 5% of their funds per position. Therefore, approach a broker with minimum order thresholds that stick to this limit.
Find out as much as possible about the financial performance of the broker you are interested in. We remind you that almost 70% of portfolios go bankrupt because online trading is a risky financial activity. Favor CFD brokers who have a minimum return of 75%. The higher and more realistic this return is, the more an adapted strategy allows you to obtain interesting profits.
AtoZ Markets online broker comparison
Having established this exhaustive list of core criteria to determine the best broker, here is our list of the 3 most competitive brokers on the market today: eToro, Markets.com, Capital.com. We are going to present its main characteristics.
The main advantages
- social trading and its copy trading tools: CopyTrader and Copy Portfolio
- low brokerage fees
- Training Course
eToro has been often cited as an example among CFD brokers for years. It is one of the oldest online brokers for the general public. It is recognized that it is particularly suitable for novice traders due to its progressive training track record. eToro is the pioneer and leader in social trading. The broker has developed technological tools in line with FinTech to bring the performance of the most popular investors to as many people as possible through CopyTrader, which automatically clones the strategies of selected traders, and Copy Portfolio, which groups the entire set with a news source and a space to share
The catalog of financial instruments is quite wide – currencies, cryptocurrencies, stocks, and stock indices – with fairly limited costs.
The main advantages:
- the quality of customer service
- minimum deposit of 10 euros
The European broker has continued to grow and has become one of those with the most important global offer. This can be seen in the different jurisdictions from which it operates, the main ones being the UK and Cyprus.
Like some other brokers such as eToro or XTB, Markets.com has taken advantage of the offer of cash shares, which can be contracted in one of its subsidiaries. Added to that we have a very large supply of CFD assets, with thousands of contracts to trade.
A particularly interesting thing about this broker is the great flexibility to trade stock markets since you can buy individual stocks from European markets without having to pay a minimum trading commission. The main fee to pay is the one included in the spread and that is a blessing for the trader, especially if he does not have a large capital and cannot buy large packages in the market.
The main advantages
- app with learning for beginners;
- extremely small minimum deposit $20.
- effective customer service
- reliability and financial security
Capital.com is one of the best brokers that provide the ability to trade a wide variety of assets: stocks, commodities, cryptocurrencies, and indices in the form of CFDs. Trades are made without any commission, and the spread is minimal.
For example, the spread for EUR/USD and AUD/USD is only 0.6 pips, while for GBP/USD and EUR/GBP it is 0.8 pips. With such a low spread and no trading fees at all, we can conclude that trading on Capital.com is extremely profitable.
When it comes to forex, it’s hard to find a currency pair that doesn’t exist on Capital.com. It is especially interesting that you can find rare and volatile pairs here.
It is very easy to start trading on Capital.com, as the minimum deposit is only $20 (such small restrictions are rarely found among Forex brokers). You can deposit funds by credit card, bank transfer or e-wallet. The broker is licensed by the British organization FCA, which confirms its complete safety and reliability.
To complete our online broker comparison
A few more names are worth mentioning to comprehensively cover the sector:
- Admiral Markets
Broker account comparison - conclusion
If you want to invest from your mobile make sure you choose a mobile trading platform that allows you to make your trades from any device. On our online broker comparison page, we indicate the different trading platforms available in each broker.
Finally, you should know that all brokers you will find on our broker account comparison are regulated by prestigious organizations such as CySEC or the Financial Conduct Authority. Losing money by investing with unregulated brokers is something you should always avoid.
A fundamental aspect that affects all traders is the trading fees. Pay attention to this point when you compare brokerages. Fees can vary depending on the financial instrument, so if you want to invest in the stock market, for example, you may want to make sure the spreads are competitive.
Remember that trading with CFDs carries risks due to leverage. Contracts for difference are complex and difficult to understand tools. Check each broker's risk warning to find out the percentage of retail clients who quickly lose money when trading with each of them.