How to Calculate Pips

Contributor, Benzinga
verified by Luke Jacobi

Want to jump straight to the answer? The best forex broker for most people is definitely FOREX.com or CedarFX.

Pip is one word you’ll definitely hear in any conversation about forex trading. One of the first subjects you’ll learn in most forex trading courses is just what a pip is and how to calculate pips.

Pip is an acronym for point in percentage and it represents the smallest whole unit of movement in a currency pair’s exchange rate. When you complete transactions, you want to know how many pips forex purchases or sales cost. Calculating this number or knowing what a broker charges makes all the difference as you enter the market.

What Does Pip Value Mean?

The “pip value” of a given trading position is its change in value due to a one-pip move in the relevant foreign exchange rate, all other factors remaining equal. The currency that a pip’s value is expressed in should be your account’s base currency. This means the numeric pip value of a position can vary depending on which base currency you specify when you open an account.

If you trade in an account denominated in a specific currency, the pip value for currency pairs that do not contain your accounting currency are subject to an additional exchange rate. This is due to the fact that you need to convert pip value into your accounting currency to compare it with the pip value of your other positions.

In practice, this means that the numerical pip value for a trade in EUR/GBP, for example, will generally be higher than for pairs with the U.S. dollar as the base currency because the pound sterling (GBP) trades at a higher relative value than the U.S. dollar.

This also means that trading EUR/GBP in a single full lot of 100,000 euros can have a more capital-intensive effect on the margin required to hold that position than, for example, trading a one lot of \$100,000 of the U.S. dollar against the Mexican peso or USD/MXN.

Due to the Mexican peso’s low value, the pip value for a \$100,000 or full lot trade in USD/MXN is only about \$0.53 compared to \$13.17 for a full lot of 100,000 euros in EUR/GBP.

Step-By-Step Calculation with Examples

Step 1: Determine the pip size. It is 0.0001 for all currency pairs other than those that contain the Japanese yen when it is 0.01 due to the relatively low value of the Japanese yen.

Step 2: Determine the exchange rate.

Step 3: Use this general formula for calculating the pip value for a particular position size:

Pip value = (pip size / exchange rate) x position size

Step 4:  Convert the pip value into your accounting currency using the prevailing exchange rate.

Best Forex Brokers

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Disclosure: CedarFX is not regulated by any major financial agency. The brokerage is owned by Cedar LLC and based in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Account Minimum
\$50 USD
Pairs Offered
55
1 Minute Review

Billing itself as the world’s 1st eco-friendly broker, CedarFX makes it easy to trade and give back to the planet. You can choose a 0% Commission Account or an Eco Account — or open multiple accounts to meet all your needs.

CedarFX offers access to a wide range of tradable securities, including stocks, futures, major and exotic forex pairs, cryptocurrencies and more. Though CedarFX could introduce a few additional educational resources, the broker remains a unique option for traders invested in giving back.

Best For
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Pros
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Cons
• Limited number of educational resources for new investors
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Account Minimum
\$250
Pairs Offered
87
1 Minute Review

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. Novice traders will love IG’s intuitive mobile and desktop platforms, while advanced traders will revel in the platform’s selection of indicators and charting tools. Though IG could work on its customer service and fees, the broker is an asset to new forex traders and those who prefer a more streamlined interface.

Best For
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Pros
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Cons
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securely through FOREX.com’s website
Account Minimum
\$100
Pairs Offered
80+
1 Minute Review

FOREX.com is a one-stop shop for forex traders. With a massive range of tradable currencies, low account minimums and an impressive trading platform, FOREX.com is an excellent choice for brokers searching for a home base for their currency trading. New traders and seasoned veterans alike will love FOREX.com’s extensive education and research center that provides free, informative forex trading courses at multiple skill levels. While FOREX.com is impressive, remember that it isn’t a standard broker.

Best For
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Pros
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• Leverage available up to 50:1
Cons
• Cannot buy and sell other securities (like stocks and bonds)
securely through AvaTrade’s website
Account Minimum
100 EURO
Pairs Offered
50+
1 Minute Review

A fully regulated broker with a presence in Europe, South Africa, the Middle East, British Virgin Islands, Australia and Japan, Avatrade deals with mainly forex and CFDs on stocks, commodities, indexes, forex, cryptocurrencies, etc. This brokerage is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland and began offering its services in 2006. It offers multiple trading platforms and earns mainly through spreads.

Best For
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Cons
• Does not accept customers from the U.S. as it isn’t regulated in the U.S.
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Account Minimum
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Pairs Offered
35

FXTM’s excellent reputation as a highly regulated online trading global leader brings financial markets to global audiences. Through FXTM, you can trade:

• Currency pairs
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You can also tap into the new FXTM Trader app to upgrade your online trading experience. Open and close positions in seconds, always known how many pips forex transactions cost, access live currency rates, manage your trading accounts and stay a step ahead of the markets anywhere you trade.

Pip Value Calculations Examples

Keep reading to understand how to calculate pips across different currencies. While you want to know how to calculate these values, you also want to know how brokers make these decisions. When you can see both sides of the equation, you have a better understanding of how to make the appropriate trades.

1. For pairs with The U.S. dollar as the counter currency

The same pip values apply to all currency pairs with the U.S. dollar traded as the counter currency in an account denominated in U.S. dollars. Major currency pairs such as EUR/USD, GBP/USD, AUD/USD and NZD/USD all have the U.S. dollar as the counter currency.

Basically, the movement of a currency pair such as EUR/USD from 1.2000 to 1.2001 would represent a one pip rise in the exchange rate, so the pip size in EUR/USD is 0.0001. This one pip movement would equal a shift in value of \$0.10 on a micro lot of 1,000 euros, \$1 on a mini lot of 10,000 euros and \$10 for a full lot of 100,000 euros.  Those would be your pip values when trading in a U.S. dollar denominated account.

Therefore, to calculate the pip value for EUR/USD when the pip size is 0.0001, the spot rate is 1.12034 and you are trading a position size of €100,000, you would plug that information into the formula shown in Step 3 above as follows:

(0.0001 / 1.12034) X €100,000 = €8.925861791956013

Performing that calculation yields the pip value of €8.925861791956013. If you then want to calculate the U.S. dollar amount of this pip value, you must take the pip value of €8.925861791956013 and convert it into U.S. dollars by multiplying it by the EUR/USD exchange rate of 1.12034 as follows:

€8.925861791956013 X 1.12034 \$/€ = \$10

Therefore, the pip value for a position size of €100,000 when the EUR/USD exchange rate is trading at 1.12034 is €8.925861791956013 in a euro-denominated account or \$10 in an account denominated in U.S. dollars.

2. For pairs with the U.S. dollar as the U.S. dollar as the base currency

Most other currency pairs have the U.S. dollar as the base currency, such as USD/JPY and USD/CAD, for example, and they have different pip values. To calculate the pip value where the USD is the base currency when trading in a U.S. dollar-denominated account, you need to divide the position size by the exchange rate.

For example, if the USD/CAD exchange rate is trading at 1.3000 and you have a \$100,000 position, then the pip value is one pip or 0.0001 x \$100,000 equals CAD\$10 since the Canadian dollar is the counter currency.

If you then wanted to convert that pip value into U.S. dollars, you would need to divide by the USD/CAD exchange rate of 1.3000 Canadian dollars per U.S. dollar, thereby yielding a USD pip value for that \$100,000 position of \$7.692307692307692.

3. Computing pip values for cross currency pairs

To find the pip value of a currency pair where neither currency is the account currency, for example, when you are trading the EUR/GBP cross currency pair in a U.S. dollar-denominated account, you multiply the standard 10 pip value per full lot by the counter currency/account currency exchange rate, or GBP/USD in this example.

If the GBP/USD rate is 1.3000, that gives you a pip value of 10 x 1.3000 or \$13 for a EUR/GBP full lot position of 100,000 euros.

4. Pip value calculation shortcuts

In general, if you trade in an account denominated in a particular currency and the currency the account is denominated in is the counter currency of a currency pair, then a short cut to the pip value calculation exists that is rather easy to remember.

Basically, positions in that pair will have a fixed pip value of 0.10, 1 or 10 counter currency units respectively, depending on if you are trading a mini, micro or full lot.

For example, if your trading account with an online broker is funded with U.S. dollars, then any currency pair with the USD as the counter currency, such as EUR/USD, GBP/USD, AUD/USD or NZD/USD, will have a pip value of \$0.10 for a micro lot of 1,000 base currency units, \$1 for a mini lot of 10,000 base currency units or \$10 for a full lot of 100,000 base currency units.

To find the pip value when the USD is listed as the base currency, as in USD/JPY or USD/CAD, for an account denominated in U.S. dollars, divide the above-listed standard pip values per lot by the relevant exchange rate.

Thus, if you are trading a full lot of \$100,000 in the USD/CAD pair, then you divide the standard 10 pip value per full lot by the USD/CAD exchange rate. If the USD/CAD pair is trading at 1.3400, you will arrive at the correct pip value of 10 / 1.3400 = \$7.462686567164179 or \$7.46 per full lot when trading in an account denominated in U.S. dollars.

How is Pip Value Used in Forex Trading?

Pip values give you a useful sense of the risk involved and margin required per pip when taking a position in currency pairs of similar volatility levels. Without performing a precise calculation of the pip value in a currency pair, an accurate assessment of the risk you are taking by holding a position in a given currency pair cannot be made.

In addition, since forex transactions are typically leveraged, the pip value of positions gets multiplied by the amount of leverage used. By knowing the pip value of a currency pair, you can use money management techniques to calculate the ideal position size for any trade within the limits of the size of your account and your risk tolerance. Without this knowledge, you might wind up taking either too much or too little risk on a trade.

Start Building Your Trading Plan

In order to build a comprehensive and effective trading plan, incorporate sound money-management techniques that include position sizing. Understanding how many pips forex transactions cost is often the first step in your investment journey. Not only are you determining fees paid, but you’re assessing the total value of your position.

Knowing the pip value of each currency pair you trade or plan on trading expressed in your account currency gives you a much more precise assessment of how many pips of risk you are taking in any given currency pair.

Pip value also helps you assess if the position risk you have or are planning to take is affordable and aligned with your risk appetite and account size.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

What is a pip?

A

A pip is the smallest unit in forex and is worth \$0.0001.

Q

What are 100 pips worth?

A

100 pips are worth \$0.01.

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