A 2018 comparison of the leading forex brokers was conducted to find the best fx broker based on factors including fees, customer service and leverage. Solely ASIC regulated forex brokers were selected including Pepperstone, FXCM and CMC Markets.
Different trading styles suit different forex brokers including the volume of trades, use of automation and risk appetite. It’s important to priorities your fx broker requirements that will impact success rather than just focusing on broker spreads and fees.
View the compare forex brokers comparison table below and recommend fx broker summary below. There are also forex broker reviews for the top brokers that compare individual features to other brokers.
Used by mainly advanced Australian forex traders, this fx trading platform is commonly used by day-traders and for those using expert strategies.
Detachable next generation charting with level II pricing
Automated options through the cTrader dedicated platform
Adjustable Session Times
Depth Of Market Functionality
Historical Data Access
Enhanced EA Trading
Platform Enhancements Made By Pepperstone
What makes Pepperstone exceed other Australian forex brokers is their smart trader tools. This is available to all traders who choose MetaTrader 4 as their forex trading platform and have a deposit of at least $500 AUD.
The 10 smart trading applications shown below give Pepperstone MT4 trader the edge, helping trade smarter with detailed insights into currency and CFD markets. These tools assist forex trading with expert trade execution and management, advanced alarms, decision assistance as well as broadcast features providing market information to traders. These tools are designed for both those new to trading and the most experienced traders.
The ‘top 10’ Pepperstone smart trading tools designed for currency trading are:
MT4 Alarm Manager This feature helps set up notification and alerts of events that may impact currency markets. This tool can be automated to send alerts via SMS or e-mail.
MT4 Connect Get quick access to RSS new feeds, trading guides and an economic calendar through this centralised portal. The portal also allows trades to get access and fund their account.
MT4 Correlation Trader This tool shows the correlation or an asset vs other markets to provide insight into exposure to the market. This helps determine the position of open trades based on the correlation of those trades.
MT4 Market Manager This compact tool helps traders get access to features without opening the MT4 program. This includes account information, the ability to make orders and advanced monitoring tools.
MT4 Excel Real Time Data (RTD) RTD is an excel tool that allows spreadsheets to be generated and analysed through a connection to MT4. Both price and account data can be accessed and VBA programming can build financial models.
MT4 Trade Terminal Position analysis combined with fast trade execution combined with advanced stop-loss orders are features of this all-in-one application. This allows fast advanced trading for those on-the-go.
MT4 Sentiment Trading This tool allows individual markets to be read through their sentiment rating. Historical sentiment features can also be viewed against market prices to further understand markets.
MT4 Session Map This tool allows traders to view market sessions in real-time to see what markets are open, when overlap occurs and events/news related to those markets. This can help identify peak liquidity in markets.
MT4 Stealth Orders Using this trading feature, pending order trades can be hid from the market. This means that rather than make a standard limit or stop order, only once the price is reached the trade is executed.
MT4 Trade Simulator Get Profit and Loss results combined with analysis of forex trading strategies. A trader can simulate how this trade would of performed based on historical market data and can be manual or automated trades.
The combination of offering the two most popular forex trading platforms combined with the enhanced functionality of “smart trading tools” led to Pepperstone winning the category.
Pepperstone’s Execution Speeds
Pepperstone achieves up to 10x latency reduction and 12x improvements in Australia execution speeds when trading forex online due to:
1) Optic Fibre From Sydney To Wall Street
One of the key issues for Australian traders is the distance between the country and the trading hubs either in New York or London. Slow internet connections between continents means that latency can be experienced when fx trading leading to ‘slippage’ which is the difference between the order made and the actual order received.
Pepperstone has overcome this issue by adopting infrastructure that offers a direct fibre optic cable from their Sydney data-centre to New York.
This has minimised the latency for Australian forex traders which is why advanced traders who make split second decisions choose their ECN platform. This makes the platform perfect for traders that adopt both technical and fundamental analysis.
2) Edge Technology Including The Leading Servers
Optic fibre isn’t enough to ensure the fastest trades for an Australian forex trader as the server it connects to is just as important. To maximise server speeds Pepperstone partnered with Equinix which not only has one of the world’s best high-performance data-centre but is also less than 18 kilometres from Wall Street.
Edge technology also has created new tools for existing platforms such as MetaTrader such as ‘one-click-trading’ which ensures that as soon as a trade is made it goes straight to the market with no dealer or other external interference which may delay the trade.
Using MT4 or cTrader with the fastest infrastructure available for either platform and features to speed up trades led them to receive the maximum execution speed score of the forex brokers
Pepperstone’s ECN Spreads And Fees
Pepperstone’s popularity is not solely due to their technology but their ECN currency trading environment. This is matched by IC and IG which also offer ecn currency trading environments. The results are razor thin spreads for all these fx brokers.
It should be noted there are two accounts. The standard account has a larger spreads determined by the forex broker and the market and is normally selected by beginner forex traders. The Razor is a market maker account with market level spreads and a flat commission of $3.50. This Pepperstone review focused on this Razor ECN forex broker account.
Razor Is A Market Maker Account With No Dealer Intervention
It’s important to understand that Razor is a true ECN forex trading account. This is because Pepperstone allows traders to directly trade with liquidity pools making it a market maker with prices set by the market. The deep liquidity pools the account has access to are in New York for MetaTrader or London for cTrader. Overall, quotes come from up to 22 major banks and ECNs which allow during liquid periods spreads to be as low as 0.1 pips for USD/EUR.
2) Their Price Improvement Technology (PPI)
PPI technology intelligently routes currency trading orders to detect liquidity hot-spots to ensure optimal pricing for Australian traders. In simple terms, when you place a trade and the market moves in your favour (between placing the trade and it’s execution) the PPI technology detects the movement and when possible, fills the order at the improved level. This does not involve re-quoting but rather the traders just receives the improved price.
You can learn more about these accounts on the Pepperstone fx broker account type page. There is also the option for CFD trading across 13 stock indices. There are no commissions on CFD trading and no dealing desk.
The Razor market maker account (ECN forex broker account) is recommended due market-based spreads and low commissions leading to lower brokerage costs. This account also provides the fastest execution speeds offered by the FX broker
Pepperstone Offers The Highest Forex Broker Leverage
Pepperstone offers the maximum Australian forex broker leverage of 500:1.
What Does Leverage Mean When It Comes To Forex Brokers?
Leverage is similar to borrowing where you can ‘borrow’ a multiple from a forex broker to maximise their exposure to the market. For example, Pepperstone’s leverage of 500:1 means you can borrow 500 times the deposit. So for example, a $300 deposit can lead to $150,000 been traded on currency markets.
Understand Your Risk Appetite When Choosing Forex Brokers
Leverage amplifies movements on currency markets which are traditionally modest. For example, leverage of 100:1 will mean a movement in a currency pairing of just 0.1% will lead to a 100% profit or complete loss of funds. It’s critical to understand your risk appetite when determining leverage levels. It should be noted that most brokers like Pepperstone will allow you to select a lower leverage level to begin with.
If you feel forex trading still exceeds your risk appetite you should consider additional features such as:
Guaranteed Stop Loss Orders
Negative Balance Protection
Pepperstone doesn’t offer guaranteed negative protection but it’s sophisticated ‘margin stop out’ works to exit a forex trader before they exceed their balance. For MetaTrader this is triggered when the margin falls below 90%. cTrader has a ‘stop-out’ system that is activated at a 50% percentage (or below). This helps those with a lower risk appetite when it comes to losing more than their deposit.
Pepperstone also doesn’t offered guaranteed stop loss orders but does offer standard stop loss orders. This means that a trader can pre-set the price (and/or amount) they are willing to lose on a trade and want to exit the market at. In the majority of occasions, the forex trading platform will exist the trader close to this level but it’s not guaranteed. Extreme events such as rate decisions when extreme movements may occur can lead losses to exceed the stop loss amount. Only a guaranteed stop-loss that has a premium cost attached to it can ensure this is the case.
Pepperstone’s Aubiz.net Australian company search details show the Australian public company has an ABN 12147055703. The site also states that they have an Australian Financial Services licence (AFSL) 389931.
Those who require high leverage would be satisfied with the 500:1 offered by Pepperstone. Pepperstone also offers lower leverage when setting up an account for those with a lower risk appetite.
The most popular cryptocurrency in 2018, this blockchain technology allows diversification from traditional financial markets. The market capitalisation in February 2018 is over $112 billion and has become one of the most traded elements on the markets.
Now the third most valuable cryptocurrency (Ripple is 2nd at the start of 2018), this serves more industries and purposes giving it a competitive edge. Key uses of Ethereum include blockchain application platforms through to smart contracts.
“Digital Cash” (shortened to Dash) focuses on enhancing anonymity and processing speeds of cryptocurrency. Dash is used worldwide as an efficient payment system. This popular use has led to increased liquidity and volatility within the asset class.
This was launched after Bitcoin in 2011. The aim was to speed up transactions with the use of a simpler algorithm. The result has led to its increase in popularity and market capitalisation. This has made it a great alternative to Bitcoin to trade. More can be found on their P2P site.
By offering 5:1 leverage on mainstream cryptocurrencies, Pepperstone enhances the potential profits or losses of this volatile sector.
Customer Service & Client Satisfaction Of Pepperstone
Pepperstone is a relatively new Australian forex broker compared to some global players but in Australia has quickly gained a dominant market share. They have a strong customer service team in Australia of individuals who actually trade themselves making them an excellent choice of intermediate to expert traders.
This was acknowledged in when Investment trends survey of 15,000 Australian forex traders ranked Pepperstone number 1 in:
Overall Client Satisfaction
Pepperstone’s Australia customer service team is based out of Melbourne. There can be the possibility of talking to an overseas customer service team during off-peak periods such as Friday night.
The main forms of customer service including:
1) Live Chat
Pepperstone use the Zendesk live chat interface to communicate with customers. This is available during the same hours as the call centre team. Our team used Pepperstone’s live chat several times and found that we could engage with an agent within 5 minutes and the operator was helpful with in-depth knowledge. Overall, live chat was the fastest was to get the answer and assistance we needed when making this forex broker review.
There is 24 hour support via a 1300 number (or an international number for those outside of Australia). This is available from Monday through to Friday. There is also a telephone number for their Shanghai and Dallas office.
Each Pepperstone call-centre location also has an e-mail contact. This is the slowest way to send enquiries and get a response but it’s useful for long enquiries that require attachments.
The award winning customer service offered by Pepperstone is ideally suited for intermediate or advanced Australian forex traders. Those new to forex on the other hand may want to consider EasyMarkets (formally EasyForex).
Learning With Pepperstone
Pepperstone has a dedicated section for those looking to learn how to play forex. There are 30 free webinars and 50 trading guides for those who favour self-learning. The webinars focus on trading strategies while the trading guides target those learning a how to trade a range of markets. Learning doesn’t top with the online webinars as the phone and online support are there to help those learning Pepperstone or forex for the first time.
Traders can also learn about market events through the news that is sent via e-mail daily. News through routers is also integrated through Pepperstone forex trading platforms through their advanced trader tools. There is also a market review section within the website which is updated several times a day with the latest news that impacts currency markets.
Pepperstone Joining Offer – First Deposit Qantas Points
The first deposit placed into a Pepperstone account when trading forex online will lead up to 10,000 Qantas points. To achieve this, link a Qantas frequent flyers membership to the Pepperstone forex trading Australia account and then make the deposit. 10 frequent flyer points are awarded per dollar deposited. This only applies to the first deposit and further conditions apply.
Futher Pepperstone Forex Brokers Points
Australian forex traders receive further Qantas frequent flyer points on their ongoing trades. 10 points per lot are available for fx majors, fx minors and fx crosses. At the end of each month a forex traders total volume is calculated and credited as Qantas Points to eligible Qantas frequent flyer members. Up to 10,000 points can be awarded each month. These amounts can be increase during bonus periods communicated by Pepperstone.
While other top Australian forex brokers may offer superior joining offers, the lower spreads of Pepperstone and advanced technology make many conclude that overall, they are the best forex broker in the long-term.
With over $5 USD trillion traded daily, the forex market is larger than any other financial market. There is no central trading location when currency trading with forex brokers both as market makers or through ECNs (electronic communication networks) buying and selling currency globally.
What is a forex account?
Forex accounts are offered by brokers to buy, sell and hold foreign currencies. The process for trading currency is to open a forex account, make a deposit and then trade currency pairings. With the use of leverage, currency fluctuations will lead to profits or losses.
What is a forex trader?
A forex trader refers to a retail currency trader who can trade most mainstream currency pairings through a forex broker. There are also institutional currency traders who make fewer but larger trades making huge impacts on currency markets.
What is meant by trade?
A trade on the foreign exchange markets is the action of buying or selling a currency pairing. A trade through a broker can include CFDs including commodities, shares, indices and even bitcoin.
What is a signal in forex?
Forex signals is a trigger to trade a currency pairing at a specific price and often time-frame. A signal can bet forex robot or analyst generated leading a trade alert or an automated trade to be generated.
The ‘top 10’ foreign currencies traded (totalling 100%) are:
44% = United States Dollar
16% = Euro
11% = Japanese Yen
6% = British Pound
4% = Australian Dollar
3% = Swiss Franc
2% = Chinese Yuan
1% = Mexican Peso
1% = Swedish Krona
1% = New Zealand Dollar
The Chinese Yuan is the fastest growing currency and is moving up the foreign currency table fast.
What Is Technical Analysis?
When it come to currency trading, technical analysis is a methodology used to forecast the direction of forex markets through previous market date. This includes both past prices and currency trading volume and can include three charts:
1) Bar Charts
Bar charts show the high and low as well as opening and closing prices of specific periods. This is done through a line/bar format graph.
2) Candlestick Chart
Like s bar chart, candlestick charts also show opening and closing price. They also show the high and low of the same time-frame which is the ‘candlestick’ feature making it easy to identify pivot points and trend reversals.
3) Line Chart
This chart shows a line from one closing price to another. It is not specific to a period, rather is designed to show the general direction of the market.
What Is Fundamental Analysis?
Forex trading fundamental analysis looks at the factors that influence currency markets including economic, political and financial factors. These elements shown on the news are used by traders to predict what the future movements will be of currency markets.
Elements Used In Fundamental Analysis
Inflation can impact a countries currency value but it can also lead to rate decisions which when increased can lead to a short-term spike in the currency. This news is shared through central banks.
Surpluses And Deficits
High valued currencies are typically from countries in surplus with historically few deficits. These countries are in prime position to lend and trade with other countries. Governments often make press releases regarding this news.
Government budgets are a major currency driver with well balanced, trade opening policies leading to an expected growth in the economy leading to a stronger budget. A budget that does the opposite can lead to a currency devaluation after released in the news.
Active trading countries when it comes to goods and services often see an increased in demand for their currency leading to appreciation.
Australian Forex Brokers
The best Australian forex broker suitable for foreign exchange trading are:
Pepperstone – Melbourne based ECN Forex broker with award winning customer service offering the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) & cTrader forex trading platform.
IC Markets – Sydney based ECN forex broker offering MT4, MT5 and cTrader forex trading platform, advanced trading tools and Bitcoin trading.
AxiTrader – Sydney based ECN online broker offering MT4 combined with advanced EAs for an advanced automated trading environment.
Easy Markets – International broker with an Australian office offering risk management from guaranteed stops, deal cancellation to negative balance protection.
Go Markets – Melbourne fx broker offering currency trading, binary options, cryptocurrency and indices trading.
Plus 500 broker – Sydney based broker licensed to offer CFDs (not binary options) within Australia, also offering EFTs, Stocks and Cryptocurrency.
Plus500 CFD – The CFD division of Plus 500 offering leverage of 300:1 across a range of CFDs products including commodities.
ThinkForex – Melbourne forex broker also known as ThinkMarkets offering it’s own forex trading platform or MT4 and metals trading.
IG Markets – Australia’s largest retail foreign exchange broker offering traditional share trading, forex trading through to interest rate trading.
FXCM – Sydney broker with a low minimum deposit of $50 and an all-in-one online trading platform that allows multiple financial produce trades.
CMC Markets – 10,000 CFDs market products can be traded with this Sydney based broker who matches trader size with different CMC Markets accounts.
TD Ameritrade – Not available for Australian traders as there is no TD Ameritrade AFSL so the fx broker is not recommended in this comparison.
FOREX.com – This is a global firm that has a number of forex brokers across the world with their Australia HQ in Sydney.
FX Brokers Who Are Also Stockbrokers
Some traders will only choose from a range of forex brokers that also offer share trading. Having such a broker with a range of markets means they don’t require multiple accounts to trade different products. Two of the larger brokers in Australia are CMC Markets and IG and it’s no surprise that these offer currency and stockbroking services. CMC Markets as shown below offers trading for active investors from just $9.90. This is significantly lower than popular stockbroking firms such as CommSec.
It’s important that you select a CMC Markets platform that allows share trading. Otherwise you may need two CMC Markets for CFD vs stockbroking services. IG Markets offer L2 Dealer which allows both stockbroker and CFD trading options.
Forex Trading Hours
Forex markets are open 24 hours a day, 5 days a week from 7:00am on Monday (Eastern Standard Time). The forex trading hours graph below highlights the peak trading times on currency markets. The cross-over between London and New York been open is when the most trades occur globally each working day.
Based on Australian Easter Standard Time, Sydney is from 7:00am, Tokyo is from 9:00am, London is from 5:00pm and New York is from 10:00pm. Due to the overlap between each location the forex trading hours are 24 hours during working dates. Liquidity is also normally the highest when each market opens. As outlined above, 10:00pm to 2:00am in Australian Eastern Standard Time is when most trading occurs with the London and New York currency markets open (its 12:00am to 4:00am in summer).
Public holidays can result in currency markets closing in local markets. Worldwide holidays such as Xmas and Easter can also lead markets to close. USA public holidays such as Thanksgiving often lead to lower forex trading worldwide.
Do I Need Multiple Forex Brokers To Trade All Hours?
The simple answer is no. Almost any Australian forex broker (or international fx broker) has the ability to access any currency market when open and trade multiple currencies within that market. Just because for example the Japanese currency market is only open, doesn’t mean you couldn’t trade currency pairings such as AUD/USD to EUR/USD. An interesting fact is that the AUD/USD is actually traded the most when the Australian market is closed highlighting that opportunities exist for currency traders all the time. It is possible that volumes for these currency pairings will be lower during different periods of the day but with currency markets volume being multiples of worldwide share-markets there is always opportunity to trade.
Most Australian trading fx brokers are open 24/5. This means that they are open from when the Australian markets open on Monday morning till the end of US trading on Friday (or for Australian’s early Saturday). Not only can you trade through their forex platforms but the currency brokers also keep support open during all of these forex trading hours. This is critical if you require assistance even during the early hours of the morning.
At What Trading Hours Do Currency Pairings Fluctuate The Most?
There are no set Forex trading hours when currency paring historically fluctuates the most. While volume/liquidity is the highest when multiple markets are open (eg when the London and New York markets are open) this doesn’t necessarily mean the currency will fluctuate more. There are though a few general events that can lead to currency pairings having large changes including:
1) When markets open When a new countries currency exchange market opens often the first few minutes sees some larger price fluctuation as traders enter the market factoring in movements that have occurred in previous markets.
2) When rate decisions are made Countries reserve banks such as the RBA make rate announcements at the same day of the month and a set time. These announcements directly impact relevant currency pairings and increase currency trading. Knowing the key reserve bank dates and times is critical for any trader.
3) When economic data is released Like the reserve bank announcements, government departments regularly release economic performance figures from terms of trade to warehouse orders and production. Like rate announcements, these directly impact currency pairings and can see large fluctuations. Over 2015 the Chinese announcements have worldwide led to the largest fluctuations.
Binary Options -What You Need To Know
Binary options are not related forex trading. Rather this is ‘all or nothing options’ where a trader predicts the movement of a commodity, index, currency or share price. It’s a speculative, high risk product and compare forex brokers does not recommend trading binary options.
So What Is Binary Option Trading?
Binary options works by predicting if in the near-future a price will be above or below a specified level. For example, will a currency pairing such as the Aussie dollar to the US dollar be trading above it’s current price in 60 minutes?
There are ‘once touch binaries’ which the trader tried to predict if a price will or will not reach within a specified time-frame. The other are ‘digital binaries’ which the trader needs to predict if the finishing price at a certain time will be above or below a specified level.
As discussed earlier, commodities, foreign exchange, individual shares and indices can be offered by a Binary Option trader. A contract duration of a binary option contract will be minutes to hours and in some rare cases several months. If the trader picks the correct movement they will get a fixed cash payout but if they don’t they will lose the entire investment. For this reason the authors compare binary options to an extremely high risk product and should only be considered by experienced traders with high-risk appetite.
Only a handful of foreign exchange brokers offer binary options. There is a high number of binary option scams so the professional registry of ASIC should be checked prior to considering the broker.
About This Forex Brokers Australia Comparison
Most prospective forex traders often find it hard to differentiate the best 2018 Australian forex brokers and know which one is the best broker for their circumstances. This is especially true when it comes to safety and regulation with most Australian’s looking for a currency trading broker that locally regulated. This means they trade out of an Australian subsidiary and hold deposits within the country.
To help speed up the process of choosing the right ASIC regulated forex broker the key players are compared with the ‘top 5’ placed on the table above. To make the figures relevant to Australian foreign exchange market conditions, other third-party sources were also used to collect data such as spreads and fees. Below shows the complete Australia forex broker list.
Australian Forex broker
MT4, Multi-Account Management
MT4, AT Pro
Core Liquidity Markets
MT4, Multi-Account Trader
MT4, Multi0Account Manager , CQG FX
MT4, FOREX Trader PRO
MT4, IRESS Suite
MT4, NinjaTrader, Trading Station
MT4, Personal Multi-Account Manager
MT4, FIX API, MAM/PAMM
Hantec Markets Australia
MT4, Interbank Direct
MT4, MT5, cTrader
MT4, L2 Dealer, ProRealTime
MT4, IRESSTrader, MaxxTrader
MT4, MT5, cTrader
MT4, Phillip CFD Trader
Royal Financial Trading
MT4, Rubix Prime
MT4, Social Trader
MT4, Trade Interceptor
MT4, MT5, MarketTrader
While the ASIC regulated forex broker table above only have Australian regulated foreign exchange brokers, there are a number of other tables that look at online brokers based on key requirements ranging from ‘low fees’ to ‘high leverage’. We also focus on cfd brokers such as Plus500 CFDs, FXCM and IG Markets for those looking for more then just currency trading. Most of these forex trading platforms are nationally regulated as the authors rated higher brokers that offered Australians the higher level of security. Since this is the case, it’s recommended that individuals view the Asic Regulated Forex Brokers to find the best forex broker Australia to suit the foreign exchange market and their trading forex style.
Forex Brokers Data Accuracy
Since the forex broker Australia comparison information on this site was created by real Australians and without assistance from the forex trading brokers the information should only be used as a guide. This is because the information came from reviewing the providers websites and without automation. This means that human error may be present or that elements such as leverage rates or fees may change without warning. If you find any forex Australia elements that require changes please use the contact us form and state where the change(s) need to be made and in most circumstances these will be made promptly. This will ensure the best broker can be found by users of the site.
Trading Forex Brokers Glossary
Forex = A shortened version of the phrase foreign exchange.
Spread = A gap between the ask and sell price of a currency pairing (often the brokers margin)
Bid Price = The price that a currency trader can sell a currency
Margin = The amount required to open a position
Margin Call = This is an alert that there isn’t sufficient margin to maintain the position(s) that are open and may require extra liquidity or the position to be closed
Base Currency = When viewing a currency pairing such as AUD/EUR the first currency (in this case AUD) is the base currency.
Leverage = The ability a forex broker provides to amplify a trader’s base amount to increase the exposure to the market.