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Forex is the most liquid market in the Australian financial world, with nearly 70 forex brokers holding Australian Financial Services licences. But which forex trading platform is the best?
The brutal truth is that most forex trading platforms are almost identical.
Their feature sets are very similar, with most forex brokerages building on top of well-known, popular 3rd party platforms like Meta Trader, cTrader, DupliTrade and Myfxbook.
Acting as middlemen between liquidity providers and you, they make a profit by taking a small point of a percentage (aka pip) of your transaction.
Yet, minor differences in fee structure and range of available tools exist – and can add to huge differences in profits (or losses) over time.
Because I recently decided to dabble in forex trading myself, I spent a week studying these tiny differences to pick the best forex broker for my own needs.
Rather, I’m just a guy with spare cash every month who wants to see it increase in value, rather than get eaten away by Australia’s nasty depreciation.
1. Fusion Markets.
Best overall. Best low-cost forex broker in Australia.
Fusion Markets is an ASIC-regulated Australian forex broker with headquarters in Melbourne. Founded in 2017, it started out as a no-frills, low-cost forex trading platform.
In recent years it made an effort to offer Australian forex traders a larger range of features without losing its focus on low trading costs.
Did it succeed? We’re about to find out.
Fusion Markets spoils you with powerful trading tools and a healthy range of tradeable assets. Trading platforms include:
- MetaTrader 4 and Meta Trader 5.
- MetaTrader WebTrader.
This is a very comprehensive offering that will satisfy beginners, intermediates, advanced and professional forex traders.
I was particularly surprised at the inclusion of cTrader. Only Pepperstone and GO Markets offer this platform with advanced analysis tools, algos, advanced market depth and thousands of technical indicators.
MetaTrader’s web-based WebTrader is an easy-to-use, friendly and intuitive platform that will offer training wheels until they’re ready.
Meanwhile, beginners who want a more hands-off approach to forex trading will appreciate access to DupliTrade. A third-party copy trading provider, it allows you to duplicate expert traders’ activitiesm through MT4 and MT5.
Fusion Markets gives you access to an impressive 90 forex pairs that include majors, minors and exotics, but you’re not limited to forex. Energy commodities, precious metals, equities crypto CFDs and 110 US share CFDs are also available.
Social trading features are also available as part of Myfxbook add-on – one of the world’s largest forex trading communities.
It doesn’t have the most modern-looking interface but it gets the job done.
As with most top-tier forex trading platforms, you can choose an account that best fits your experience level and trading style:
- Classic. Zero commissions, but the spreads aren’t very competitive. About on par with forex industry average.
- Zero. Raw account with commissions of $2.25 per side. Spreads are razor-tight, and are about 30% lower than industry average. Expect EUR/USD to be in the range of 0.03 pips and AUD/USD to be about 0.4 pips.
- Professional. For professional and sophisticated traders only, the account removes ASIC’s leverage limitations, adds priority support and a dedicated account manager. To qualify you’ll need to jump through a number of hoops. These include either an asset test ($2.5m in assets or $250k in gross income) or an experience test (notional trading volume of $1m in 2 years or direct professional experience with leveraged trading).
Like most of the best Australian forex brokers, Fusion Markets doesn’t charge deposit, withdrawal or inactivity fees.
Hedging, scalping and EAs are allowed.
I was impressed by Fusion Markets‘ fast execution speeds, hardly ever noticing any hard slips or requotes.
Those who want more power can upgrade to a VPS for about $25/month, and Fusion Markets will refund its cost if you trade more than 20 lots per month.
Last but not least, 24/7 support via email, chat and telephone beats other providers. The industry standard is 24/5. Agents are responsive, helpful and patient.
The fact that you’re dealing with an Australian broker that’s actually based in Australia helps here.
I don’t have many gripes with Fusion Markets. Really. And it’s not for the lack of trying. But there are a few yellow flags.
The first is to would-be copy traders.
DupliTrade has a $5,000 minimum entry threshold, which will turn off many beginners.
Yes, you get some YouTube videos to get you up and running. They’re not terribly exciting, but are clear and logical.
I won’t harp on this too much, as education is an Achilles Heel for most forex brokers, but Fusion Markets’ efforts are particularly “meh”.
The other thing that would improve Fusion Markets is the ability to trade real stocks.
I know it’s a big ask, but this is where Think Markets and Go Markets beat it. If you want to trade underlying shares, you’ll need to go with one of those platforms.
Fusion Markets is the best forex broker in Australia because it achieves the impossible goal of being both low-cost and fully-featured.
It beats other top forex brokers with the lowest commissions of $2.25 per side and best spreads in the game on its Zero account.
Intermediate and advanced traders will appreciate Fusion Markets’ focus on top-tier trading platforms in MT4/5 and cTrader. Meanwhile, beginner traders will appreciate the training wheels offered by WebTrader, DupliTrade and Myfxbook.
I like that the company doesn’t sponsor sports teams or invest in other expensive, elaborate marketing schemes or gimmicks.
CEO Phil Horner is an Australian, living in Australia – and is a veteran of the forex trading industry.
|Does Fusion Markets Offer This Feature?||Yes/No|
|No Commission Account||Yes|
Best forex trading platform in Australia for active traders.
Like Fusion Markets, Pepperstone is an online forex broker headquartered in Melbourne, Australia.
The company was founded in 2010 and is highly regulated, with the green light from the ASIC, FCA, SCB, DFSA, CMA, CySec and BaFin.
Let’s kick off with a discussion of Pepperstone’s trading platforms:
- MetaTrader 4 and Meta Trader 5.
It matches Fusion Markets by including cTrader and MT4/5, but swaps out beginner-focused WebTrader for the more advanced TradingView.
The latter is great for speed and responsiveness, as well as more built-in indicators, drawing tools, chart formats and rich historical data (but no automation).
Does this mean that Pepperstone caters to more intermediate and advanced forex traders, while Fusion Markets also tries to please beginners?
I think so, and I’ll shortly discuss a few other features that strongly hint at this.
cTrader is only available to Windows users.
Pepperstone matches Fusion Markets in the social and copy trading department by giving you access to DupliTrade and Myfxbook.
You can access about the same currency pairs, but more than 1,000 other instruments – including CFDs on commodities, ETFs, shares, indices and crypto.
(Related: Will Australian Dollar Rise In 2024?)
The difference in share CFDs is most significant.
While Fusion Markets gives you access to just over 100 US share CFDs, Pepperstone spoils you rotten with 600 from the US, 100 from the UK, 200 from Australia and a few others from Hong Kong and Germany.
If the range of instruments is your deciding factor, Pepperstone is definitely the best choice.
However, if low fees are also a priority, Pepperstone slips back into 2nd place.
Like Fusion Markets, Pepperstone offers three retail investor accounts:
- Standard. Commission-free with average spreads (about 0.77 pips on the EUR/USD).
- Razor. Commission-based with variable spreads (same EUR/USD pair is about 0.17).
- Professional. Works exactly the same as Fusions (i.e., you must prove that you know what you’re doing to get access to higher leverage and perks but forfeit a lot of regulatory protections.
On average, Pepperstone’s spreads are slightly wider than Fusion Markets’. Commissions are also about $1 higher per side, at $3.5.
For example, if you trade more than 200 lots over a 3-month period, you’ll qualify for a 20% discount. If you trade more than 1500 lots, you’ll receive a 30% discount. Members of the Active Trader program also get free VPS hosting, a dedicated account manager and better reporting.
You don’t pay any deposit, withdrawal or inactivity fees.
You get a comprehensive set of “Learn to Trade” webinars, videos and blog posts, as well as access to The Cornelian Academy – a third-party trading education provider (that also partners with Eightcap, below).
As I mentioned when discussing the cons of Fusion Markets, you’ll need to watch out for the $5,000 minimum deposit when using DupliTrade.
Also, keep in mind that even though Pepperstone offers a huge selection of stock CFDs, it doesn’t offer access to underlying stocks.
I suggest that absolute beginners should look elsewhere, as the selection of Pepperstone’s trading platforms is definitely aimed at intermediate, advanced and professional users.
Pepperstone offers some of the best forex trading conditions possible. Think of it as institutional-grade trading made available to Australian retail traders.
If you’re comfortable with Meta Trader and/or cTrader, want to trade large volumes of a large variety of instruments and dabble in copy trading, Pepperstone is your best choice.
Fast trade execution speeds and outstanding customer support seal the deal.
According to the CEO Tamas Szabo, Pepperstone attracts a lot of referral business, which is always a good sign. Incidentally, Tamas has been in the industry for over 25 years, moving from IG Group, where he did a stint as CEO of Asia Pacific.
|Does Pepperstone Offer This Feature?||Yes/No|
|No Commission Account||Yes|
Great all-rounder forex trading platform.
Another forex trading platform founded by Aussies, Eightcap hails from Melbourne and is regulated by ASIC.
I’ve seen other reviewers promoting Eightcap as the best forex broker for beginners, but I vehemently disagree – for reasons I’ll explain below.
(Related: How To Avoid Forex Trading Scams).
Eightcap is a MetaTrader-only forex broker with a few 3rd party bolt-ons to sweeten the deal.
This is where I disagree with reviewers who push it as a “beginner-friendly platform with a user-friendly interface”.
Beginners can certainly wrap their heads around them if they persist, but people who want a very easy introduction to forex trading should look for a brokerage that offers their own proprietary, web-based platforms (e.g., Go Markets) or a WebTrader version of MT4/5 (e.g., Fusion Markets or Vantage).
Yes, I realise that Eightcap also offers the more user-friendly TradingView, but that requires you to place trades via a mobile app or manually via MT4 anyway – not ideal for beginners.
Eightcap’s range of tradeable instruments is large and well-balanced. Predictably, you’re not limited to only forex, and are able to build a balanced portfolio of different asset classes.
40 currency pairs that include majors, minors and exotics, 14 CFD commodities and over 500 share CFDs from US, UK, Australian exchanges, as well as 18 indices and over 100 crypto CFDs. Yes, 100.
- Standard. No commissions but higher spreads (from 1 pip markup).
- Raw. $3.5 commission per standard lot. Spreads are variable and fairly low (e.g., EUR/USD is 0.17). This is the best option for people who understand spread structure and trade frequently.
- Professional. As with Fusion Markets and Pepperstone, you’ll need to prove that you know what you’re doing (or at least can afford to lose copious amounts of money, ha). Volume of $2m over the last 2 years or $2.5m in assets or $250k/year salary will do it.
I like that Eightcap offers a couple of perks that other brokers don’t.
The first is Capitalise.ai – a trading bot that allows you to automate much of your trading without using any code. You can communicate with it using a chat interface.
The second and more useful feature is FlashTrade.
This bolt-on allows you to modify your stop losses and take profits when you’re already in the trade. This ability to change parameters as the trade develops allows you to react to the market more dynamically.
Research and education are pretty average. It’s nothing more than a public blog called Eightcap Labs. You will learn about trading strategies, indicators and the importance of managing your emotions – but that’s about it.
And let me remind you that you shouldn’t rely on your brokerage for those, because of obvious conflicts of interest.
Unlike Fusion Markets and Pepperstone, Eightcap doesn’t offer any copy trading features (although some social trading functionality is available through TradingView).
Its selection of 42 forex pairs is also lower.
Also, keep in mind that your demo account will expire after 30 days.
Eightcap is a well-established forex broker with competitive trading fees and a reasonably large range of tradeable instruments.
Their decision to include FlashTrade is a nice touch, while their focus on MT4, MT5 and TradingView reminds you that it tilts towards intermediate to advanced users.
Raw and Standard accounts suit high-frequency and position traders, respectively. Fees on the Raw account are competitive but nowhere near as good as Fusion Markets’.
Fees on the Standard account, with its 1.0 pip starting spread, are not very competitive at all. If you want to trade commission-free, you’re better off with Pepperstone.
|Does Eightcap Offer This Feature?||Yes/No|
|No Commission Account||Yes|
4. Vantage Markets.
Great forex trading platform in Australia for intermediate and advanced traders.
Vantage was founded in 2009 as VantageFX but has rebranded as Vantage after post-GFC QE efforts squeezed a lot of volatility out of the forex markets and made it difficult to make money by trading forex alone.
Today, Vantage offers a very robust selection of instruments across a number of markets. It is regulated by ASIC in Australia.
Like most forex brokers in this review, Vantage does not have a proprietary desktop trading suite. You will trade via MT4 or MT5.
But Vantage also takes care of beginners by including the more user-friendly WebTrader suite.
In that sense, it allows beginners to start with WebTrader and transition to MT4 and MT5 when ready, while advanced traders can jump into the deep end immediately.
But there’s more.
Vantage also gives you the option to trade via TradingView (a relatively new charting interface) and its own proprietary mobile trading app.
Combined, these make one of the industry’s most comprehensive trading platform offerings.
Structure of Vantage’s retail investor accounts is very similar to that of Fusion, Pepperstone and Eightcap:
- Standard. Zero commissions, wider variable spreads (e.g., EUR/USD from 1.4 pips).
- Raw. Small commissions, narrow variable spreads on an ECN account (e.g., EUR/USD from 0.0 pips). The commissions are remarkably low, at $1 per lot ($2 round turn).
- Pro. Available for eligible clients. The usual barriers to entry apply (very similar to those of Fusion Markets and others – I won’t rehash them again.
Overall, the fee structure is very competitive when compared with the best forex brokerages in Australia. Use the Raw account for the lowest overall fees, and stay out of the Pro account – unless you really know what you’re doing.
While some people criticise it for being insufficient, I prefer its tighter focus (which leads to fewer distractions).
Apart from 44 forex pairs, you get CFDs on 500 US shares, 50 Australian shares, 200 UK and Euro shares as well as CFDs on 7 bonds, 40 cryptocurrencies, 35 ETFs and a healthy selection of commodities, indices and precious metals.
I like that Vantage gives you access to a few unexpected perks.
SmartTrader tools are included as part of the MetaTrader suite, as well as news and sentiment analysis from FXWire Pro and Fx Street.
My criticisms of Vantage are similar to those I’ve already levelled at Eightcap.
Educational resources are on par with other brokerages. Meanwhile, the customer support is good but is only available 24/5.
The absence of ZuluTrade and DupliTrade is also a surprise. I know that Vantage offers these copy-trading 3rd party add-ons in other global markets, so their decision not to offer them in Australia is unusual.
This is about 20 less than you get with Pepperstone and Fusion, but all the usual majors, minors and exotics are there.
It’s just that some of the very exotic pairs aren’t available (but do you need to take out a position on the GBP/CZK (British Pound / Czech Koruna)?
I like Vantage because it’s clearly aimed at sensible, serious CFD and forex traders (and people who want to reach that level).
Its ECN-style Raw account gives you access to some of the lowest trading fees on the market, and a healthy – but not overwhelming – selection of markets encourages you to step outside of forex.
Meta Trader 4 and 5, WebTrader, TradingView and an easy-to-use mobile trading app put every trading tool at your fingertips.
The lack of copy trading features is somewhat disappointing, but to be entirely honest, most serious traders won’t be planning to automate their trades.
|Does Vantage Offer This Feature?||Yes/No|
|No Commission Account||Yes|
5. IC Markets.
Another good forex trading platform for advanced traders.
Australian-owned IC Markets is an online forex broker headquartered in Kent St, Sydney. The company was founded in 2007 and offers trading on a range of assets, including currency pairs, indices, metals, and energies.
They are regulated by ASIC, CySEC, FSA, and SCB.
I don’t recommend IC Markets for a raw beginner.
IC Markets gives you many options, allowing you to optimise for one strategy over another.
For example, you could avail of IC Markets raw spreads – zero pips!
Of course, they must keep the lights on somehow, so their raw spread accounts charge commission. A standard account will have spreads but no commission.
- But things get even more interesting when you compare the raw spread accounts.
- Your choice of trading platform, MetaTrader or cTrader, will affect the size of the commission.
I don’t know why IC Markets chose to make the commission on cTrader accounts 50 cents cheaper than on MetaTrader, but they have.
Currently, commissions on their Metatrader accounts are $3.50, and just $3 on cTrader.
Before committing to IC Markets, think about your go-to strategies, tools and styles – it will help you choose the best account for your forex trading style.
Physical presence in Australia. Noice.
IC Markets boast that they have over 25 global liquidity providers, which allows them to consistently offer tight spreads. It’s hard to argue with them when they’re literally offering 0 pip spreads.
If this is your preferred strategy, I recommend IC Markets.
They offer 61 forex pairs, which is more than enough for most people. It might actually be too much, as the sheer number of pairs can be overwhelming.
Fast execution speeds minimise slippage.
- IC Markets is one of the most customisable brokers listed here.
If you have very specific needs, they might be the best option for you.
IC Markets offers forex market accessibility through 3 primary types of trading platforms:
- MetaTrader 4.
- MetaTrader 5.
IC Markets, like Pepperstone, which I will review shortly, caters to different types of forex traders by offering Raw Spread and Standard accounts.
While IC Markets lets you trade in various markets, they’re all CFDs. If you want to purchase the underlying asset, you’ll need to go elsewhere.
The user interface could be simpler and more intuitive. There’s something decidedly “last decade” about its design.
Raw spreads sound great the first time you hear about them. But unless you’re trading big money, it’s probably better to stick with a standard account.
You must think carefully about what kind of trader you are and what account would suit your style.
Scalpers and technical forex traders will find IC Markets an excellent choice for its straightforward pricing, global name recognition and fast execution speeds.
Beginner traders might find IC Markets a bit much. But they’re certainly a forex broker to consider when transitioning to more advanced or technical strategies.
- Competitive spreads.
- Extremely low forex fee.
- A wide range of markets available to trade.
- Physical office in Australia.
- Advanced trading tools.
- Leverage of up to 1:500.
Good for beginner forex traders.
AvaTrade is regulated by three tier-1 and three tier-2 jurisdictions. In Australia, AvaTrade is regulated by the ASIC.
AvaTrade has won heaps of industry awards, too many to list, in fact.
The most relevant to forex traders are their awards for Most Trusted Platform in Europe, Best Mobile Trading Platform, Best Overall Broker, and Best Fixed Spread Broker.
And that’s just 2022!
And leverage is what makes AvaTrade special…
Remember how I said leverage was capped at 30:1 in Australia? Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. Some brokers, like AvaTrade, allow you to create an off-shore account with up to 400:1 leverage.
Is this safe?
Be aware that what you gain in leverage, you lose in consumer protection.
If something goes wrong, you would not have the same legal recourse as if you were using the Australian-regulated branch of AvaTrade.
Users I spoke to complained that you’d need a separate email account to switch from the on-shore to the off-shore branch of AvaTrade, or vice-versa.
AvaTrade’s educational resources will suit some people more than others. Instead of a curriculum that walks you from beginner to expert, AvaTrade’s educational resources are arranged by topic.
Luckily, AvaTrade has the supporting infrastructure for just this type of learner. They offer a demo account with $100,000 virtual money, so you can test out the platform before committing any real funds.
- I can’t stress enough how valuable a learning tool this is.
$100K in virtual money will teach you a lot more than $100 in real money. If you’re serious about trading, spend six months just trading paper and see how you get on.
This is a huge advantage for anyone starting out, as it allows you to copy other successful traders.
(Related: 13 Best Share Trading Platforms In Australia).
AvaTrade, the brokerage, lets you choose which trading platform you want to use.
This is good news for people who are used to their preferred platform and don’t want to change – even if they do want to change their broker.
Their award-winning mobile app, AvaTradeGO, allows you to trade on the go.
AvaTrade even lets you dip your toe in the options world with Vanilla Options. Vanilla Options are less complex than Exotic Options but still give you a tremendous amount of control over your investment.
AvaTrade’s spreads are nothing special; they don’t deviate significantly from the industry average. For major pairs, expect the spread to be just under 1 pip.
I don’t like that AvaTrade only lets you trade CFDs.
While 400:1 leverage sounds great, it does involve taking on additional risk.
I’d be very wary of losing the consumer protections afforded us under Australian law. I’d recommend AvaTrade’s on-shore account for most people.
- AvaTrade’s website has almost too much information on it.
- I found it very hard to pin down exactly what their fees were.
- This lack of transparency isn’t ideal.
For example, it took quite a bit of digging to discover that they have two separate inactivity fees. The first is after 3 months of inactivity and will cost $50. At 12 months of inactivity, they levy a $100 ‘Administration Fee.’
It’s not clear from the website if a year of inactivity will cost you $300($50*4 + $100) or less.
This example aside, AvaTrade does appear to have low fees. And inactivity fees are easy to avoid. I’d just like it to be laid out a little clearer.
I like AvaTrade for its simplicity and ease of use. It’s one of the best forex brokers for beginner forex traders to learn their trade. At the same time, more advanced traders can avail of their high-leverage off-shore accounts.
- Choice of 5 trading platforms.
- Physical office in Australia.
- Free demo account.
- Extensive list of 3rd party integrations.
- No inactivity fees.
- Comprehensive support for beginner traders.
- Excellent fees and trading conditions.
Another decent low-cost forex platform.
Axi is a fully online platform based in Australia. As a low-cost brokerage, it’s a good choice for people just dipping their toe in forex trading.
But you get what you pay for in terms of limited trading options, no weekend customer service, and an interface that lags behind some of its competitors.
- Low cost – no minimum deposit, no commission, relatively tight spreads.
- Fast execution – most of the investment in Axi is behind the scenes. Their high-speed execution infrastructure minimises slippage.
- Axi’s in-house interface is powered by Metatracker, so it should feel familiar to most experienced traders.
- You can only trade CFDs.
- Outdated research tools – while they’re certainly workable, there are newer and more advanced options out there.
- 24/5 customer service – if you’re not a full-time trader, it’s helpful to have customer service open on the weekend.
Axi doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of other forex brokers I’ve reviewed here. It’s a low-cost platform with limited options.
No law says you have to do all your trading on one platform, so why not take advantage of Axi’s low rates for forex trading? You can manage the rest of your portfolio somewhere else.
Another good all-round trading platform
Markets.com has a reputation for being expensive, which isn’t entirely fair. At the time of writing, the average spread on major pairs is between .5 and 1 pips.
The spreads are even better if you register for a premium MarketsX account.
Considering that the only requirement to access this membership tier is a $250 deposit, I feel the premium fees are a more accurate indicator of the overall experience.
- MetaTrader 4 and 5 integration.
- Quick and easy to set up. You can get cleared for trading that same day.
- The interface looks great and is relatively easy to use.
- No withdrawal fees or commissions on CFDs.
- Fast registration and account management.
- Good learning and research infrastructure – for example, there are over 90 indicators available for technical analysis.
- A $10 per month inactivity fee starts after 3 months.
- Trading limited to forex and CFDs.
- Web and mobile platforms lack some features.
Markets.com is an easy platform to use. You can start trading almost immediately, and there are lots of useful research tools to explore.
MetaTrader integration is an obvious plus, and I like that you can trade commission free. On the flip side, there are more competitive spreads out there.
- No withdrawal fees or commissions.
- Uncompetitive spreads.
- Metatrader integration.
9. ACY Securities.
Good all-round forex platform for beginners.
ACY Securities is only authorised by a single tier-1 regulator, the ASIC. This doesn’t sound as prestigious as some other brokers on our list, but for Australians, it’s the only one you need.
I bring it up because ACY Securities seems to actively discourage users outside of Australia by charging them higher than-average rates.
The platform offers three account types, with better rates for higher deposits. Users can further lower their costs by attaining active trader status.
ACY Securities offers three account types, with better rates for higher deposits.
All three account types offer significant 500:1 leverage, made possible through ACY Securities being regulated in Vanuatu.
Enter the winner’s circle; one thing that makes ACY stand out is its year-long trading competition. The Trading Cup Contest allows users to win up to half a million dollars! Not bad work if you can get it.
- Clearly laid out membership tiers, with competitive spreads on the highest tier.
- Bonuses are available for top performers.
- Active traders can reduce commissions by as much as 0.5 pips per lot.
- Metatrader only broker. This could be a problem for Apple users as Metatrader is currently suspended from the App Store.
- Educational materials are hard to navigate.
- Expensive for users outside of Australia.
ACY Securities is a good option for experienced traders who are based in Australia. I wouldn’t recommend them for beginners or small traders, as there are more cost-effective alternatives for people in those categories.
10. FP Markets.
Yet another Australian forex trading platform.
FP Markets is an Australian CFD and forex broker regulated by the top-tier ASIC.
They give you a choice between raw pips and zero commission. A raw pips account starts with a commission of $3 per side, while the commission-free option starts with a spread of 1 pip.
For Forex traders, the commission is $3 per lot with an average spread of 0.9 pips. There is no inactivity fee, which is useful if you’re not a full-time trader.
- Quick set up.
- Low fees.
- Standalone app.
- International withdrawal fees.
FP Markets is nothing special. They don’t offer the best price, the most options, or the most powerful tools. They’re a good all-rounder, but nothing to write home about.
- MetaTrader 4 and 5 integration.
- Zero pip or commission-free trading.
- Uncompetitive pricing.
Should I Trade With A Zero-Commission Forex Broker?
Only if you’re a beginner. You’ll discover a rule of thumb with forex brokers. You either get:
- No commissions and high spreads, or
- Low spreads and high commissions.
Every time you place a trade, your forex broker will take a cut that’s a set number for each lot size. That’s the commission.
Your recipe for success involves finding a broker that allows you to get your trade through the spread as well as having a commission that’s low enough for you to still be in profit.
Zero-commission brokerages usually stick it to you excessively on the spreads.
Some brokers really suck, with ridiculous spreads of 3 pips, which means the price would need to move by 3 pips for you to be at zero on your trade. This is ridiculous because a move of 3 pips is not small.
Should I Trade Forex Only?
No. The first error every new retail trader makes is limiting themselves to one asset class (and sometimes one time horizon (e.g., day trading).
If one approach stops working, you can shift – while avoiding concentrated risks.
Is This Why Most Forex Trading Platforms Offer CFDs?
Yes. Traders live and die on volatility, and it has been crushed in forex markets in the last 10 years.
There are some exceptions, like USD/JPY, but the low volatility on major currency pairs makes forex good to learn on, but difficult to make lots of money on when day trading.
Most professional traders split up their positioning, with half of their exposure to equities and the rest split evenly across commodities, crypto and forex, keeping some cash in reserve to take advantage of very short-term opportunities.
Should I Start With A Demo Account?
Yes. It’s the only reliable way to see what the real spreads are. This is particularly important when the brokerage offers variable spreads.
But keep in mind that you don’t learn much about risk management until you open a real position with real money.
How Do I Know If I’m A Beginner Forex Trader?
Beginner traders take the directional “day trading” approach to market. They think in short time frames, measuring everything in 1-minute, 5-minute, 4-hour or daily increments.
One of them is usually their “favourite” forex pair, a short on the S&P500 (because their favourite YouTube economist has predicted an economic doomsday again) and their favourite cheap underdog stock (something to do with AI or blockchain).
In contrast, professional traders think in 1-3 month blocks.
They take out multiple long-short positions to build portfolios that profit from the upside potential of certain securities while mitigating the downside of risk.
Each professional portfolio contains 10-20 positions, none greater than 10% of the overall pie.
Why Do Forex Trading Platforms Charge Inactivity Fees?
Dormant accounts are a massive problem in the brokerage industry.
Would-be traders go to trading seminars, get convinced to open a trading account, deposit a couple of thousand dollars but never build up the confidence to pull the trigger.
Some trading platforms charge inactivity fees as a disincentive for leaving your trading account dormant.
Contrary to popular opinion, they care little about this small charge (usually $10/month). They’re trying to make you trade, as this is how they make real money.
Quick Comparison Of Leading Australian Forex Trading Platforms.
How does my #1 recommended forex trading platform in Australia, Fusion Markets, compare with runners-up? Let’s find out.
Fusion Markets vs Pepperstone.
- Fusion Markets is a low-cost forex broker aimed at beginners, while Pepperstone is a traditional forex broker aimed at experienced traders. They’re very different platforms for very different users.
- Fusion Markets has a much wider range of markets and asset classes.
- Fusion Markets offers rock-bottom commissions on any trade while Pepperstone gets cheaper once you start trading higher volumes (and the 30% discount kicks in).
Fusion Markets vs CommSec.
Commsec comes with the perceived security of being backed by Australia’s biggest bank.
On the flip side, Fusion Markets is one of Australia’s leading dedicated forex trading platforms. So, not only does Fusion have a strong reputation in its own right – but they’re also specialists.
- Fusion Markets has a user-friendly interface and quality customer service. Commsec is frequently criticised for its poor user experience and customer service. No contest here.
- Fusion Markets offers very cheap commissions, while Commsec charges a .10% commission per side with Forex and a minimum of $10 per trade.
Fusion Markets vs AvaTrade.
AvaTrade’s paper trading option and simple pricing structure make it easier for beginners to get into Forex trading. Fusion Markets generally offers lower spreads and commissions, though.
- Fusion Markets and AvaTrade are both easy to use and navigate, so it’s a draw when it comes to usability.
- Fusion Markets offers a broader variety of trading options.
How Does Forex Trading Work?
The goal of forex trading is to profit by trading CFDs of currency pairs.
Forex traders speculate on the future value of one currency against another. They then make trading decisions accordingly.
1. CFDs Can Be Your Friend.
Importantly, forex traders don’t purchase the underlying asset. Instead, they engage in CFD trading that predicts the direction of price movement through a contract.
2. Pair Up.
Currencies are always quoted in pairs, such as EUR/AUD or AUD/USD.
The first listed currency of a currency pair is called the base currency and the second currency is called the quote currency.
When you purchase a currency pair from a forex broker, you effectively buy a CFD on base currency and sell the CFD against the quote currency.
The code’s price explains how many units of the quote currency it would take to buy the base currency. For example, a typical quote pair for 2023 is:
AUD/USD = 0.65
Here, the AUD is the base currency and USD is the quote currency. In other words, the Australian Dollar is worth 0.65 US Dollars.
The base currency always equals 1, while the number represents the amount of the quote currency it takes to purchase 1 unit of base currency.
3. Learn Leverage.
When you trade forex, you only put in a small amount of money compared to the full value of the trade.
This is important, as currencies only fluctuate by minute amounts, and in order to make a substantial profit, you must trade large volumes.
Keep in mind that leverage works the other way around. If the exchange rate moves against you, you are held responsible for any losses from the entire value of the trade. Therefore, forex trading is usually better for experienced traders comfortable with taking risks.
What Do I Need To Know About The AUD/USD Pair?
The AUD/USD is one of the world’s top-traded currency pairs.
Australia adopted a free-floating forex currency system in 1983. This means that the Australian dollar exchange rate is set by the demand and supply of Australian dollars on the foreign exchange market.
- Today, AUD is one of the most traded currencies globally due to Australia’s wealth in metals, coal reserves, diamonds, meat production and wool.
Which factors affect this pair?
1. The RBA Official Cash Rate.
The actions of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) directly affect the AUD/USD pair.
In 2023, we have already seen the cash rate increase by over 4.0%.
Of course, actions of the US Federal Reserve – aka The Fed – also play a huge part.
As shown above, the price of AUD has slumped during 2023, largely due to interest rate hikes by the Fed.
Generally speaking, the interest rate differential between both banks will directly impact the net position of the AUD/USD pair.
2. Commodity Prices.
Commodity prices strongly influence Australia’s currency as the country exports large amounts of coal and iron ore.
Interestingly, this has a knock-on effect on importers. When the Australian Dollar falls against the US Dollar, imports become more expensive for Australian businesses and consumers.
3. The Chinese Economy.
As China is Australia’s largest trading partner, any changes in the Chinese economy will also affect the AUD.
The value of the AUD/USD pair is quoted as 1 Australian dollar per every X number of U.S. dollars, where X is the current market rate. For example, if the market rate is 0.75 it means that it takes 0.75 U.S dollars to buy 1 single Australian dollar.
How To Choose The Best Forex Trading Platform?
The best forex broking platform for you will depend on your needs and the platform’s benefits. Start by considering the following:
1. Who Are You?
Be honest about your commitment to forex trading and your level of expertise. Ask yourself:
- Which currency pairs do I plan to trade?
- Do I plan to be a casual or full-time trader?
- How much experience do I have?
2. Does The Platform Have Essential Features?
Next, evaluate the forex trading platform through the following 7 lenses:
- Does it have advanced trading and analysis tools? Advanced forex trading strategies require access to historical pricing trends, technical indicators and customisable charts.
- Does it have a sufficient selection of currency pairs? Generally, advanced forex traders want a wider selection.
- How fast are the execution speeds? Sub 0.1 second speeds are crucial if you don’t want to face slippage (when prices change before your order goes through).
- Can you get a demo account? This will allow you to check whether the trading platform is the best for you in a 100% risk-free environment.
- How intuitive is the trading platform’s interface? If you don’t like using it, you probably won’t use it.
- Does it offer other asset classes? If you decide to trade stocks and cryptocurrencies in the future, you won’t have to jump through regulatory hoops twice.
3. Is It Regulated In Australia?
Ensure that your forex trading platform of choice is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
This way, you can have the assurance that the platform is legitimate and your funds are held in a safe ecosystem.
Did You Know?
ASIC regulation guarantees that Australian retail clients cannot have leverage limits exceeding 1:30.
4. Does The Trading Platform Offer A Phone App?
The best forex brokers in Australia also offer fully optimised mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices.
To provide the best user experience, trading apps should include all of the features available on the desktop platform, such as placing buy and sell orders, conducting market research, requesting deposits and withdrawals.
5. Does The Platform Offer Top-Notch Customer Service?
Look for a forex broker that offers five-star customer service.
The best forex brokers that earned top spots in this review offer support on at least a 24/6 basis, which matches activities of the global currency trading market.
Live chat with a real person (or at least with a competent bot that can direct you to the right resource) is a big bonus.
Is There The Best Time Of Day To Trade Forex?
The foreign exchange market is open 24 hours a day, five days a week (including most holidays). This means that you can trade forex anytime, anywhere.
However, not all times are created equal.
- The best time to trade forex is during the London session or the New York session.
These are the times when the majority of international banks and businesses are active in the market, and when there is the most liquidity.
The London session runs from 3 AM to 12 PM GMT, while the New York session runs from 8 AM to 5 PM GMT. It means you’ll have to stay up pretty late if you live in Australia.
Can I Teach Myself How To Trade Forex?
Yes, but be careful. While there are no shortage of online gurus happy to sell you their forex trading course, it’s essential to be wary of scams.
Many beginners get lost in a sea of trading forums, e-books and blog posts.
They end up with a patched approach to their trading, characterised by dozens of indicators on their screen and hundreds of currency pairs in their head.
A better approach for someone just starting out in forex trading is to use a simple and focused approach:
- Focus on 5 or 6 major currency pairs. For example, GPB/USD, USD/CAD, AUD/USD, USD/CHF, EUR/USD. These pairs have good volatility, good liquidity and tight spreads.
- Learn 2-3 trading strategies. This ensures you have consistent opportunities regardless of geopolitics. Strategies are like golf clubs – there’s no single perfect one, but you carry a few trusted ones and you use the right one for the right market conditions.
- Trade at the same time each day. You will learn faster, as you’ll be buffeted by less variables outside of your control.
- Watch the bigger picture. If you’re trading on the 1-hour chart, remember to periodically zoom out to the 4-hour chart to see which way the market is trending.
You will find several reputable forex trading courses on learning platforms such as Coursera and Udemy.
How Do I Start Forex Trading In Australia?
The process is quite simple. I suggest you spend less time agonising over your choice of trading platform and more time learning how to trade.
1. Open A Forex Trading Account.
For beginner traders, the best way to start forex trading in Australia is to set up a micro forex trading account with a low capital requirement.
Such accounts have variable trading limits and allow investors to limit their trades to amounts as low as 1,000 units of a currency.
- For context, a standard account lot is equal to 100,000 currency units.
Another option for beginner traders is to use a demo account. A demo account simulates live trading conditions and allows you to test your strategies without risking any real capital.
2. Deposit Funds.
Once you have chosen the best forex trading platform for your needs and set up an account, you will need to deposit funds into your account.
Most Australian forex brokers accept deposits via bank transfer, credit/debit card, or e-wallet.
Avoid bank wires without Osko, as the funds take 2-3 days to arrive.
3. Search And Trade Currency Pairs.
Once your account is funded, you can start searching for forex pairs (as well as indices, commodities, shares, and ETFs).
Don’t be haphazard in your approach. Use resources on the Internet to find a trading strategy that appeals to you and stick to it. As a general guide:
- Place a ‘buy’ order if you think the value of the currency pair will rise.
- Place a ‘sell’ order if you think the value of the currency pair will fall.
Questions About Forex Trading You’ve Been Too Afraid To Ask.
Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.
Fundamental vs Technical Analysis: Which Is More Important For Forex Traders?
Professional traders focus on fundamental trading 80% of the time and 20% on technical. Unfortunately, most beginner retail traders do the opposite.
They overvalue the importance of looking at candlestick charts and undervalue the need to understand economic data that predicts forex price movements.
What Are GSLOs?
GSLOs are not offered by all forex brokerages. These give you 100% certainty that you’ll be closed out of a trade at an exact price specified by you, regardless of market volatility.
Think of GSLOs as another risk instrument tool in your forex trading toolkit, alongside trailing stop losses and stop-loss orders. You can only place GSLOs during trading hours.
Is Copy Trading Good For Beginners?
Yes and no. It’s a time saver, but it doesn’t teach you much about the fundamentals of trading.
What Do I Need To Open A Forex Trading Account?
Applying for a forex trading account is generally a quick and easy process that can be completed entirely online.
Most forex brokers will have an online application form that you’ll need to fill out, after which you should hear back from them regarding the status of your application.
Have the following details and documents ready to help prove your identity:
- Your name.
- Date of birth.
- Address (utility bill will do it)
- Proof of ID (e.g., driver’s license, passport).
Some forex brokers will ask you to upload a photograph that shows your face and a piece of paper with a keyword and/or current date. This helps keep the platform free from fraudulent accounts.
Does ASIC Regulate Forex Trading Platforms In Australia?
All retail forex trading platforms in Australia must hold an Australian financial services (AFS) license. ASIC, the main regulator of forex brokers in Australia, issues the license.
ASIC requires all forex brokers to meet certain standards, including:
- Segregation of client funds: Client funds must be kept separate from company funds.
- Negative balance protection: Clients cannot lose more than their initial deposit.
- Financial stability: ASIC requires forex brokers to maintain a certain level of financial stability.
In addition, ASIC has a number of rules in place to protect investors, including the following:
- Leverage limits: The maximum amount of leverage that a forex broker can offer is 1:30.
- Margin call level: ASIC requires forex brokers to issue a margin call when the account balance falls below 50% of the required margin.
- Stop out level: A stop out occurs when the account balance falls below 20% of the required margin. At this point, the broker will close all open positions.
Which Forex Trading Platform In Australia Is Best For Beginners?
This is a difficult question to answer in one sentence. I suggest you read the entire review above to understand the pros and cons of each platform.
Which Australian Forex Broker Gives The Highest Leverage?
Gone are the days when you could get 500:1 leverage in Australia. As of the 29th of March 2021, the ASIC has capped leverage at 30:1.
Most platforms offer leverage of 30:1, the limit to what they’re legally allowed.
Keep in mind that higher leverage means higher risk. Only use as much leverage as you’re comfortable with.
Institutional vs Retail Forex Brokers: Which Are Best?
Traditionally, institutional traders would buy and sell currencies on behalf of large hedge funds, pension funds, banks and businesses while retail traders would do the same for individuals.
Institutional investors generally have greater sums of capital at their disposal, which gives them access to the best forex trading platforms with:
- Greatest diversification capacity.
- Reduced costs per trade.
- Advanced market analysis and research.
- Fastest execution times.
That said, online forex trading platforms have blurred the lines between institutional and retail investors in recent years.
For instance, all individual Australian traders have access to derivative products such as Contracts for Difference (CFDs).
Does CommSec Do Forex?
Yes. Commonwealth Securities Limited (CommSec) is a securities trading platform provided by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Established in 1995, today it is the country’s largest platform with over 55% of all investors using it to invest their money.
Despite impressive credentials and popularity, CommSec ranked as 3rd best forex broker in Australia because of the 0.6% foreign exchange fee on transfers from the Australian Dollar into other currencies.
Can I Trade Forex With $100?
Yes, but you probably shouldn’t.
While some forex brokers accept deposits as low as $100, the lack of leverage increases your chances of losing as much as 88% of your investment.
Can I Trade Forex In Australia Without A Forex Broker?
No, you cannot trade forex without an ASIC-regulated broker in Australia.
All Australian forex brokers must have an Australian Financial Services licence in order to act as an intermediary that buys and sells currency pairs on your behalf.
What Are The Risks Of Forex Trading?
Without risk, there are no profits. Your ability to price and tolerate risks will determine your success in the forex trading game.
Here are 3 main forex trading risks that you should consider before signing up to a forex trading platform:
- Exposure. Even though you front up a small percentage of the trade value upfront, you are still responsible for the entire amount. Small price fluctuations can result in margin calls, which require you to pay an additional margin. During volatile market conditions, aggressive use of leverage can lead to substantial exposure, where your losses exceed initial investments.
- Rapid fluctuations. The forex market is volatile – and currencies can move up or down a lot in a short space of time.
- Trading costs. Forex trading incurs transaction costs, including spreads (the difference between the bid and ask price of a currency pair) and commissions. These costs eat into your profits.
My Closing Words On Choosing The Best Forex Brokers In Australia.
To sum up, there’s no such thing as the best forex trading platform. Different platforms are best for different types of users:
- Fusion Markets – Best for low cost and best overall.
- Pepperstone – Best for active traders.
- Eightcap – Best all-rounder.
Remember that forex trading is most effective when you think of it as a long-term strategy. It’s not a path to overnight success.
Give yourself concrete goals, avoiding the temptation to think in 1-week and 1-month increments. Ask yourself:
- What is my 5-year goal?
- What is my 10-year goal?
Forex trading is not for you if you cannot work with such long horizons.