Forex Trading for Beginners

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Contributor, Benzinga
August 4, 2023
verified by Jay and Julie Hawk

New to forex trading? FOREX.com is an excellent broker to learn forex trading for beginners.

While stock stories usually occupy the headlines, the foreign exchange market (forex) often gets overlooked as one of the best testing grounds for those new to financial markets. With a low barrier of entry, high liquidity and 24-hour coverage, the forex market is a suitable pick for those who want to learn to trade. Read on to learn more about currency pair trading for beginners.

Disclosure: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 68% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

What is a Forex Trader?

A forex trader is a person who buys or sells currencies intending to profit from fluctuations in the currency market. Although exchanging money in the bank is technically trading as well, because of the added costs, it is not practical. For this reason, dedicated traders use forex brokers that allow them to speculate quickly and at a low cost.

Traders usually conduct extensive fundamental or technical research — attempting to profit by correctly anticipating major policy shifts like interest rates or by identifying recurring chart patterns, which is the base for technical analysis.

How Exactly Does Forex Trading Work?

Forex trading involves buying one currency while simultaneously selling another. Forex trading is decentralized, as it runs over-the-counter (OTC) directly between two parties. A network of banks and other financial institutions facilitates these transactions, ensuring stability, liquidity and global coverage. Retail traders access the forex market through brokers as intermediaries who buy and sell the currencies on their behalf.

Since currencies trade against one another in ratios, each currency has a base and a quote currency. For example, when trading the British pound against the U.S. dollar, a trader would buy GBP/USD, where GBP is the base currency and USD is the quoted currency. Thus, if GBP/USD trades at 1.30, 1 GBP equals 1.3 U.S. dollars.

Quick History of the Forex Market

About 500 years ago, the first forex market started in Amsterdam. The Dutch had extensive merchant operations globally, so they needed stable exchange rates.

More recently, the forex market took off after the collapse of the Bretton-Woods system that pegged the U.S. dollar to gold. Eventually, countries stopped fixed rates, and currencies started floating in the 1970s. Because of rising globalization, this market quickly became one of the largest; its current daily volume exceeds $6 trillion.

In contrast to the stock market, the forex market is decentralized — trading through a network of connected global banks. Except for the weekends, a forex market exchange is always open somewhere.

Understanding Forex Market Hours is Important, Here's What You Need to Know

The forex market trades 24 hours per day, 5 days per week. It opens with an Australian session on Monday (Sunday at 5 p.m. ET in the U.S.) and ends with the U.S. session on Friday afternoon, again at 5 p.m. ET.

Although the forex market is highly liquid, this doesn’t mean depth is equally distributed. Minor and exotic currencies often experience widespread and thin volumes outside the most popular market hours when the London and New York sessions overlap. This period is between 8 a.m. ET and 12 p.m. ET.

Important Terms to Understand for Success in Forex Trading

The financial world is full of jargon. Here are some key terms you should understand before starting trading forex.

Brokerage Firm or Broker

A trading platform is essential to the process of trading currency pair in the foreign exchange. A broker is an intermediary between the trader and the market. It provides this access through various software in exchange for trading fees. Some brokers might create the market, thus taking the other side of the trade, but most traders stick with ones that are just processing their trades.

Bid-Ask Spread 

The spread is the difference between the bid (the highest buying price) vs. the ask (the lowest selling price). This amount will be the market cost of entering the trade in forex trading, and it will be the lowest for the most liquid, most popular pairs.

Currency Pairs

Currencies trade in ratios, where two currencies make a pair that trades against each other. For example, USD/CAD shows the worth of one U.S. dollar in Canadian dollars.

Going Long/Short

On regular markets, going long means buying, while going short means selling. Forex is slightly different because to buy one currency means to sell another. For example, going long USD/CAD denotes the expectation that the value of the U.S. dollar will rise against the Canadian dollar. This outlook changes depending on the denominated currency. For example, going short EUR/USD means expecting the euro to fall vs. the U.S. dollar.

Forex Charts

Charts are the visual expression of price movement over time. The most popular chart style for the forex market is the Japanese candlestick. It shows an open, a close, a high and a low for price movement over a defined time and forms patterns traders use to predict price movement.

Leverage

Leverage means you use borrowed funds to amplify the trading position beyond what would be available by the cash balance. This concept works through brokers who provide the funds by a pre-defined maximum ratio, usually by a maximum of 1:30 or 1:50. Leverage can greatly enhance the returns but also create large losses.

Margin and Margin Account

A margin account is a type of trading account that allows the use of leverage. When entering a trade, the broker keeps a portion of the funds set aside to ensure the potential loss of the trade — this amount is referred to as the margin.

Pip

Pip is the unit of measure that shows the change in value between two currencies. Pip stands for percentage in point, which equals 1/100 of 1%, or 1 basis point.

Spot Market

The spot market is the market for immediate purchase and delivery, in contrast to the futures market, which guarantees delivery at some point in the future. Spot forex traders exchange currencies at the current price (rate price) at the point where the trade is settled.

Understand the Risks Associated with Forex Trading

The forex market offers many opportunities, but it’s a risky environment for beginners. Risk management is the primary objective for traders, so consider the following practices:

  • Use a stop loss: The essential step of forex risk management. It requires experience and a keen eye, but beginners should use 10% of the average true range (ATR) as a minimum stop-loss guideline.
  • Don’t abuse leverage: Leverage is a double-edged sword. It can enhance the returns but also destroy an account quickly. While there are no strict rules, using up to 1:10 leverage for beginners is a good rule of thumb.
  • Minimize time in the market: Anything can happen at any time in the forex market. Thus, beginners should choose not to overstay their trades and think twice before holding trades over the weekend — especially in an unstable environment.
  • Check the news calendar daily: Checking the daily calendar is a part of the trader's routine. News moves the markets, and trading around them can be perilous. Beginners should avoid trading for at least 30 minutes around the high-impact news.

The Best Way to Learn to Trade

Although often overlooked by retail traders, the forex market is more suited for beginners than other popular markets. In contrast to stocks, forex traders don’t need $25,000 to day trade since forex is tradeable with as little as a few hundred dollars. Furthermore, the forex market trades 24 hours per day, and it is so liquid that one can become a multi-millionaire before scalability becomes an issue.

Yet this sounds easier in theory than it is in practice. Like any other market, forex requires patience and planning — resisting the temptation of entering a trade for simply being in the position. Finding a quality broker is the first step on that journey, but ultimately a successful forex career comes down to planning a trade and trading the plan.

It is also recommended to start trading in the foreign exchange market using a demo account, that way you can practice matching the best currency pair, day trading strategies, implement a trading plan, and practice trading opportunities.

Best Forex Course for Beginners

Pandemics, recessions and dips in the economy are some of the best times to make big money. In fact, new millionaires and billionaires are made with each market crash.

Asia Forex Mentor, led by Ezekiel Chew, offers training like you’ve experienced before. In fact, it claims that it implements “battle-hardened tactics” that help people make millions.

The course gets straight to the point: 

  • You’ll dive into actionable strategies right away to dramatically increase your income.
  • You’ll cultivate a new income to reach financial freedom — the course claims that you’ll boost your income by 15%, 25%, 30% or more. If you use these skills together, the website claims you may see an explosion in profits and ROI of 75%, even up to 200% or more.

The cost is $118 per month or $1,200 per year. 

  • securely through Asia Forex Mentor's website
    securely through Asia Forex Mentor's website
    Best For:
    Crypto + Forex Courses
    Rating:

Best Forex Brokers for Beginners

A reliable broker is the best partner a beginner forex trader can have. Check out Benzinga’s recommended forex brokers in the comparison table below to help you create a forex trading strategy, implement market analysis, learn about forex pair, and achieve trading success through a trading plan.

  • securely through Forex.com's website
    securely through Forex.com's website
    Best For:
    Forex Trading in and Outside the U.S.
    Rating:
    Read Review

    CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 68% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

  • securely through IG Markets's website
    securely through IG Markets's website
    Best For:
    Forex Execution
    Rating:
    Read Review

    Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

  • securely through HYCM Capital Markets's website
    securely through HYCM Capital Markets's website
    Best For:
    Forex Trading
    Rating:
    Read Review
  • securely through IFC Markets's website
    securely through IFC Markets's website
    Best For:
    Best for Leverage Trading with Many Instruments
    Rating:
    Read Review
  • securely through eToro Forex's website
    securely through eToro Forex's website
    Best For:
    Demo Accounts
    Rating:
    Read Review

    CFD trading is not available to U.S. users. 76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

  • securely through Plus500's website
    securely through Plus500's website
    Best For:
    Mobile Users
    Rating:
    Read Review

Try Perceptrader AI

Perceptrader AI is a unique platform that allows you to leverage machine learning and expert advisors to improve your forex investments. With advanced algo trading at its core, you can make the most of Perceptrader AI and the work that Valeriia Mischenko has done. 

Perceptrader AI uses these tools to exploit the trading opportunities that can last only a few, fleeting moments. It also bases its trading ont he long-term strategies from Waka Waka EA and will integrate with Chat GPT and Google Bard. 

Customize your risk tolerance, adjust the settings to ensure that trading fits in with your strategy, and you can make much better decisions on the foreign exchange market. Plus, you can reach out for 24/7 customer support if you need help with your account.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Is forex good for beginners?

A

Forex is suitable for beginners. It is user-friendly and operates 24/5, making it more accessible than many other markets. Finally, it is highly liquid, so it is less expensive to trade, especially if trading only the most popular pairs.

Q

How can a beginner trade in forex?

A

A beginner can first test out a demo platform to familiarize themselves with the mechanics of trading and, more importantly, find a trading style that matches their personality.

Q

How much money should I start trading forex with?

A

There is no universal answer since, ultimately, it will depend on personal finances. Risking too much money will make a trader uncomfortable and prone to mistakes while risking too little will make them reckless and lacking accountability since the outcome won’t matter much. Initially, it is advisable to test out the functionality with a deposit as small as the broker allows and then adjust accordingly to personal risk preferences.

Q

Can you make a living from forex?

A

Yes, it is possible to make a living from trading forex. However, in order for you to be able to trade successfully, you need to first learn how to trade profitably. Once you’ve mastered that skill, then you can start trading with your own funds.

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 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.