Who’s FOREX.com for?
FOREX.com has a little something from everyone, from novice traders to experienced currency traders. Access to MetaTrader, NinjaTrader and API tools gives clients in the U.S. a chance to implement advanced forex trading strategies and use maximum leverage. High volume discounts are available for active traders and certain account holders earn interest on any unused cash.
For beginners, FOREX.com has an expansive library of research materials and provides plenty of step-by-step direction on trading in the currency markets. A strong regulatory framework keeps new traders from getting in over their heads and superior execution guarantees all trades are made at the best prices.
FOREX.com’s Platform and Tools
FOREX.com has several different platforms for traders of all experience levels, but MetaTrader support for U.S. clients is one of its key features. Most American forex brokers don’t support MetaTrader, likely in part due to the strict regulations governing currency markets in the U.S.
Fans of the popular forex trading software are limited to commission-based accounts only. Unfortunately, you can’t use MetaTrader with either the spread or Direct Market Access accounts. However, commission account clients can use MetaTrader on both Mac (via web browser) and mobile with full Expert Advisor support.
FOREX.com has its own proprietary trading platform too, creatively known the Advanced Trading Platform. Don’t let the name fool you. This trading app is very friendly toward inexperienced traders. The program comes with over 100 technical indicators built in and traders can backtest over 15 different time periods. If you want guidance on trades, Autochartist can help point out signals in real-time and qualified customers can chat with a real live market strategist.
If you prefer computers to do all the work, API Trading is available to automate your moves. You can design your own trading algorithms and integrate them into FOREX.com’s platforms.
There’s also NinjaTrader, a powerful forex trading platform complete with its own automated strategies. Instead of writing your own computer programs, NinjaTrader allows users to match trades with certain technical indicators to be automatically executed when a signal hits. No programming knowledge is needed to automate trading with NinjaTrader.
FOREX.com’s Research Offerings
Other brokers might offer more sophisticated market research, but Forex.com excels in the education department. If you’ve never placed a currency trade in your life, you can take a crash course from FOREX.com and become well-versed after a weekend of work. First, there’s the What Kind of Trader Are You? Quiz:
Using a few basic pieces of information, FOREX.com can guide you toward an appropriate trading strategy based on your risk tolerance and level of expertise. Choose either a Commander, Professor, or Strategist profile and get directed to research materials and methods for meeting your goals.
Know absolutely nothing about forex trading? Then take an afternoon familiarizing yourself with FOREX.com’s three courses on the subject. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced lessons are all available so traders of any level can learn something useful. You’ll learn how to use forex charts and spot trading opportunities.
FOREX.com employs a team of market researchers too, led by Matt Weller, a senior market analyst at Faraday Research. The Economic Calendar allows you to track world events with a few clicks and the Pivot Points section looks at charts to predict practical trade entry and exit points.
FOREX.com’s Commission and Fees
Forex traders pay fees primarily in two different ways, through spreads and commissions. Spreads in forex work the same way as the bid/ask spreads in equities; they’re the difference between the trader’s buy price and sell price.
FOREX.com gives currency traders a chance to trade with spread only, reduced spreads plus commission, or commission-free with direct market access. Here are the three different account types offered:
- Standard: A traditional forex trading account with no commissions. The only cost to the client is the spread, which is usually higher compared to the other two account types.
- Commission: FOREX.com’s commission account greatly reduces the spreads in exchange for a fee on each trade. MetaTrader users can’t open one of these accounts though. The commission is $5 per 100,000 units traded.
- Direct market access: Using the DMA account, advanced traders can get direct access to the plumbing of the forex market. With DMA, traders can match their orders to specific liquidity providers to take advantage of rapid price movements. This is an advanced style of trading and FOREX.com recommends it only to clients with over $25,000 to deposit.
Spreads tend to be higher on FOREX.com compared to other international forex brokers, but U.S. customers usually happily pay a little extra for the convenience. When looking at other popular U.S. brokers like OANDA, the spreads on FOREX.com are more reasonable. The $5 commission per 100,000 units is also cheaper than commissions offered by TD Ameritrade.
You’ll need $250 to open an account and there’s a $15 inactivity fee for any account under $10,000 with no trades for 12 months. Minimum trade size is 1,000 units. Rollover fees are charged for any position open longer than 24 hours, but there are no intraday rollover fees.
To avoid paying the fee, simply close your open positions before the 5 p.m. EST deadline. After 5 p.m. EST, a new trading day begins and any open positions will be rolled over.
FOREX.com has healthy relationships with a number of worldwide regulatory agencies, including authorities in the United States, England, Japan, Canada, Hong Kong
Customer funds are kept separately from institutional money at a collection of global banks and reported daily to the National Futures Association (NFA). Risk guidelines are set by FOREX.com’s parent company, GAIN Capital Holdings (GCAP), which is a public firm trading on the NYSE.
Fast trade execution helps customers get the best prices. At FOREX.com, not only do they promote quick execution, but they back up their claims with a scorecard. Only 0.87% of trades take more than one second to execute and the average speed is 0.05 seconds between receipt and execution. Using limit orders, you can get better pricing on over 58% of your trades.
As of 2018 Q3, FOREX.com had over $1.4 billion in total assets, with customer equity coming in at $887 million. A deep pool of assets helps provide liquidity and enables the near-instantaneous execution you need as a forex trader.
FOREX.com’s Customer Support
Forex markets are open 24 hours a day between Sunday and Friday, so brokers have to be willing to provide support around the clock. Forex.com understands these needs and makes itself available 24/5 during open market hours. There are three modern ways to get in touch with Forex.com customer support (plus good old snail mail):
- Phone: U.S. toll-free and international lines are available for both current clients and prospective customers looking to open accounts. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. Sunday to 5 p.m. Friday.
- Email: Forex.com’s site provides three different email addresses for inquiries
- Chat: You can also chat right on the website with a customer service rep. Hours are the same as phone support.
No weekend hours are available for any type of support, but you might be able to find an answer in the thorough list of FAQs available.
FOREX.com’s Tradable Asset Classes
In the United States, clients are limited to trading forex pairs with a maximum leverage of 50/1. Unleveraged gold and silver can also be added to an American portfolio if you’re worried about inflation. Additionally, American customers can trade futures through FOREX.com’s new partner site, FuturesOnline.
With looser regulations in other countries, FOREX.com offers more products to its international clientele. Most notably among these products are the CFDs. CFDs, or contracts for difference, are tools used to place competing bets on financial products. Bitcoin CFDs are currently being offered for U.K. clients.
FOREX.com’s Ease of Use
At first glance, FOREX.com might be a little intimidating to the newly-minted forex trader. There are multiple trading platforms to choose from, each with their own nuances and complexities. But an evening in the education section will be all a new trader needs to get up to speed.
And once you’ve got the basics of the Advanced Trading Platform or MetaTrader down pat, new trading techniques and strategies can be added to your repertoire.
Instructions for choosing, opening and funding an account are straightforward and Forex.com offers customer support every hour the currency markets are open.
New traders will eat up the educational resources and benefit from FOREX.com’s low account balance and trade minimums. For the seasoned forex trader, there are multiple platforms of varying sophistication to choose from and active traders earn discounts on high monthly volumes.
FOREX.com is one of the few market maker brokers to provide a direct market access account to knowledgeable customers, too.
Commissions and spreads are in line with (or lower than) industry averages and the friendliness offered to U.S. traders is a welcome sight.
Two percent margin requirements on only three forex pairs