You must find a broker that complies with U.S. laws if you live in the United States and want to trade in the forex market. You’ll have a significantly larger selection of international brokerages if you live outside the United States.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act affected all U.S. federal financial regulatory agencies and the entire U.S. financial services industry, including online forex brokers and the stock market.
Learn more about how you can trade forex with our review of the best international forex brokers.
Best International Forex Brokers:
Trading Forex Internationally
In January 2015, the National Futures Association (NFA) imposed limits on the leverage allowed on forex positions and other restrictions on U.S.-based forex traders. Many international forex brokers stopped accepting clients from the U.S. Also, due to the new restrictions, international forex brokers increased in popularity relative to American brokers because they typically give traders better terms than U.S.-based forex brokers.
For example, forex brokers in the United States only allow a maximum leverage ratio of 50:1, while some international brokers offer client leverage up to 3,000:1. This high amount of leverage, while extremely profitable when you’re on the right side of the market, could be disastrous if you hold a losing position, especially if you have limited capital.
Another example is the FIFO regulation. FIFO stands for “first in, first out,” and this rule requires you to liquidate positions in the same currency pair in the order that they were established instead of choosing which opposing transaction to liquidate.
The new U.S. legislation also banned hedging a forex position by taking an opposing position in the same currency pair as 1 already established. Doing this means you effectively hedge the original position and can trade out of both sides individually, which is no longer allowed for U.S.-based forex traders.
Do International Forex Brokers Accept U.S. Clients?
Just because you live in the United States doesn’t mean you can’t trade forex. Many top-tier forex brokers such as IG are based in the United States and also fully comply with the relevant regulations of the NFA and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
Although many international brokers decided not to accept traders from the United States after the 2015 legislation change, a number of international brokers have elected to become members of the NFA and CFTC and accept U.S. clients. Keep in mind that when a forex broker lacks oversight from a reputable financial regulatory agency, you run a considerable risk when you open an account with them. It’s possible to lose your entire deposit without even making a trade.
Also, if you’re U.S.-based and trade forex through an international broker licensed in the United States, your account will be subject to CFTC and NFA rules and restrictions. This means that regardless of the amount of leverage or other features offered by the international broker, you must adhere to the 50:1 U.S. leverage limit, the FIFO rule, the no-hedging rule and any other relevant U.S. forex account restrictions.
What Makes the Best International Forex Brokers?
Finding the best forex broker for you could take some effort and depends in part on where you’re based. For example, if you live in the U.S., your choices are somewhat limited to those relatively few brokers that accept U.S. clients. Nevertheless, if you live outside of the U.S., you have a large number of online brokers to choose from.
International forex brokers that offer their services to U.S. clients tend to be the largest and best capitalized since the process of registering and complying with CFTC and NFA regulations requires a significant initial investment and cash reserve amount. Keep in mind that not all forex brokers are created equal, so make sure you carefully consider your needs before you open an account.
Outside of the United States, a wide choice of brokers exists, and some brokers offer leverage of as much as 3,000:1. Regardless of where you live, choose a broker regulated by a reputable government agency such as the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).
If you have little or no experience in the forex market, read Benzinga’s best forex broker for beginners, which can offer a large selection of educational material, including videos, podcasts, audio and printed articles. Large international forex brokers, such as Oanda and FOREX.com, offer educational material to less-experienced clients and they also accept U.S.-based customers.
The Best International Forex Brokers
If you want to verify that an international forex broker is registered with the NFA and can accept U.S.-based clients, the NFA provides an online verification system known as the Background Affiliation Status Information Center (BASIC). Enter the broker’s information to verify if it has been approved by the NFA and complies with all regulatory requirements.
Founded in 2001, FOREX.com was one of the internet’s 1st online forex brokers. FOREX.com has offices in New Jersey, London and Tokyo. It’s overseen by the NFA and CFTC in the United States, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the U.K. and the Japanese Financial Services Agency (JFSA) in Japan. In addition, FOREX.com is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).
This top-tier forex broker offers trading in more than 80 currency pairs, cryptocurrency pairs, CFDs on indexes, metals, energy, commodities and a large selection of U.S. and U.K. stocks. Forex.com accepts clients from around the world, with the exception of Singapore, New Zealand, Iran, Yemen, Belarus and some nations on the list of the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC)
FOREX.com offers the popular MetaTrader 4 and 5 trading platforms from Metaquotes. It also offers mobile and web-based platforms, as well as a proprietary Advanced Trading Platform with integrated trading strategies for more experienced traders. Leverage for major forex currency pairs is 50:1 for U.S.-based clients and 30:1 for clients based in the EU.
The broker requires a minimum deposit of $50 that can be made via credit card or bank transfer. Withdrawals occur within 48 hours of the original request and funds are returned to the originating bank or credit card account. FOREX.com offers novice traders an extensive FAQ section and video tutorials on how to use its trading platforms. Customer support is provided by designated phone numbers in the countries where the firm has a presence.
A broker located in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, CedarFX is not regulated, although the broker is required to follow all the laws of the country where it's domiciled.
CedarFx gives traders direct access to global financial markets, with over 170+ tradable assets available through MetaTrader4. You can trade forex, crypto pairs, stocks, indices and commodities through 1 platform!
CedarFX offers excellent support and unlimited opportunities to practice your strategy with the MT4 platform before trading using deposited funds with its free demo accounts.
Get started with CedarFx today.
Based in San Francisco and New York City, Oanda was established in 2001. Oanda is one of the world’s largest forex brokers and has a significant international presence with additional offices situated in London, Singapore, Sidney, Tokyo and Toronto. The broker is overseen by the NFA and CFTC in the United States, the IIROC in Canada, the FCA in the U.K., the JFSA in Japan and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
Oanda is an electronic communications network/straight-through processing (ECN/STP) broker. It offers leverage of 100:1 to clients in Australia and New Zealand, 50:1 to U.S. clients and 30:1 to clients based in the EU. The broker accepts U.S.-based clients and offers trading in more than 70 currency pairs, as well as CFDs on indices, metals, energy products, commodities and U.K., U.S. and German government bonds.
Platforms available at Oanda include the MetaTrader 4 platform, proprietary desktop and web-based platforms that integrate TradingView charts, and the Oanda API for automated trading. The award-winning broker requires a minimum deposit of $20 to open an account, and its website is available in eight different languages.
IG is a comprehensive forex broker that offers full access to the currency market and support for over 80 currency pairs.
The broker only offers forex trading to its U.S.-based customers, the brokerage does it spectacularly well. Advanced traders will revel in the platform’s selection of indicators and charting tools, and its margin rates are easy to understand.
IG’s mobile app continues its commitment to simplicity. It offers full trading capabilities in a streamlined, powerful platform. IG is also 1 of the few forex brokerages we’ve seen offering a native tablet interface on both iOS and Android platforms.
Trade Forex Now
The best international forex brokers can satisfy your needs as a trader. Despite restrictive forex regulations in the United States, U.S.-based forex traders can operate in the forex market much like traders who live elsewhere, although the rather low leverage ratios and lack of hedging imposed by U.S. regulators can seem stifling for some trading strategies.
Get a Forex Pro on Your Side
FOREX.com, registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), lets you trade a wide range of forex markets plus spot metals with low pricing and fast, quality execution on every trade.
You can also tap into:
- EUR/USD as low as 0.2 with fixed $5 commissions per 100,000
- Powerful, purpose-built currency trading platforms
- Monthly cash rebates of up to $9 per million dollars traded with FOREX.com’s Active Trader Program
Learn more about FOREX.com’s low pricing and how you can get started trading with FOREX.com.