Australia hosts a large assortment of excellent forex brokers. However, the best forex brokers for Australian investors will depend on a whole range of complex, interconnected factors.
In this guide, I will show you a selection of some of the best forex brokers in Australia, their various pros and cons, and explain some of the subtleties in choosing the best broker for you.
6 best forex brokers Australia at a glance
Discover the best forex brokers in Australia for 2023
In my list below, I give an overview of the top forex brokers for Australian residents.
Plus500 - Offers advanced forex trading tools
Plus500 offers the security of being a publicly listed company on the London Stock Exchange (LON:PLUS) in addition to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority.
There are free real-time forex quotes available here alongside set indicators for easy chart analysis.
Why I like Plus500 for trading forex
You can only access forex trading via CFDs on 65 currency pairs at Plus500 with spreads that are around the industry average. Of course, CFD trading is complex and risky, however, Plus500 help mitigate this risk by offering negative balance protection.
Plus500 have an excellent platform that is host to a range of tools to assist you with your forex trading. Of particular note is the new analytical tool ‘Insights’ which provides up-to-date analysis on millions of trades being conducted by other users. This allows traders to harness the wisdom of crowds, a great addition to any forex trading strategy.
- AUS/USD spread: 0.01 pips at time of writing (no average data available)
- Number of Forex CFD pairs: 65 currency pairs.
- Minimum deposit: $100
CFD service. Your capital is at risk
Plus500AU Pty Ltd (ACN 153301681), licensed by: ASIC in Australia AFSL #417727. FMA in New Zealand FSP #486026, Authorised Financial Services Provider in South Africa FSP #47546. You do not own or have any rights to the underlying assets. Consider if you fall within Plus500's Target Market Distribution. Please refer to the Disclosure documents available on the website.
AvaTrade is another popular Australian forex broker, serving 300,0000 clients now since its founding in 2006.
It’s an interesting offer, as it only offers just over 50 forex pairs to traders, but also boasts the MT4 and MT5 platforms, as well as its own award-winning proprietary platform WebTrader.
The key advantage of AvaTrade is its thriving social community, which not only provides plenty of information and analysis, but also allows traders to ‘copy-trade’ other successful traders through AvaSocial, Zulu, and Duplotrade.
In terms of pricing, it offers no commission, but the spread on major pairs is around 0.9 pips, which is higher than some competitors.
Why I like AvaTrade for trading forex
AvaTrade offers several exclusive features that make it a good choice for both beginners and professionals. To start with, there’s its demo account that covers most of the live account functions, but without the risk. Traders can then upgrade to a ‘mini-account’ which they can fund with just $100, allowing them to experience the psychology of live foreign exchange trading conditions with little risk.
Its coup de grace is AvaProtect, a tool unique to the platform which reduces risk by reimbursing investors for losing trades at the end of a protected period in return for a small hedging cost. Overall, this leaves the platform as an excellent choice for hesitant first-timers who want to ensure their risk is mitigated.
However, the platform’s support service is only open 24/5 between 8 am and 10 am.
- AUS/USD spread: starting at 0.9 pips
- Number of forex pairs: 50
- Minimum deposit: $250
Pepperstone - Best overall forex broker
Found in 2010 and headquartered in Australia, Pepperstone offers access to a range of different securities, including currency pairs, indices, and commodities.
Pepperstone’s fees are built into the spread, and there’s no commission on trades whatsoever.
And since the broker is ASIC-regulated, the highest leverage you can receive on a standard account is 30:1.
Pepperstone also offers intuitive social trading features, including a copy trading service that lets you build a forex portfolio based on the investments of more experienced traders. This feature allows you to automatically copy experienced traders’ investments, a great feature if you aren’t particularly active or confident.
Why I like Pepperstone for trading forex
Pepperstone is my choice as the best forex broker for beginner traders to start out with. Commission-free trades with fees built into the spread, a clean trading interface, and the ability to easily copy trades are all features which beginners should prioritise.
In addition, there is an excellent selection of educational materials, much of which is aimed at inexperienced traders. It also helps that Pepperstone offers 24/5 customer support, with 18-hour support on weekends.
Of course, the trading platform also offers services to the more experienced, including 500:1 leverage for those who qualify, and access to the TradingView, MT4, MT5, and cTrader platforms. However, it only offers 60+ currency pairs, and fees can work out cheaper elsewhere.
- AUS/USD spread: 1.1 pips average
- Number of forex pairs: Over 60 currency pairs
- Minimum deposit: $0
CMC Markets - Best for range of currency pairs
CMC Markets is a popular forex trading platform due to its low-fee cost structure. There is no minimum deposit, and no deposit, withdrawal, or inactivity fees. In addition, the trading platform is well-regulated, having been operating internationally for over 30 years.
It also offers a decent selection of risk management tools, such as stop limits, trailing stop losses, and guaranteed stop-loss orders (GSLOs), allowing you to establish automatic risk thresholds to your trades. Unlike other stop-loss order types, GSLOs offer 100% certainty that a trade will close at an exact price, for a premium. If the GSLO is not triggered, 100% of your premium is refunded.
And it has several features designed to make forex trading less complex for beginners, such as an advanced order panel that gives you a broad overview of your trades in one panel.
Why I like CMC Markets for trading forex
The fee structure is appealing, as is CMC’s variety of educational tools, but the unique selling point of CMC Markets is its wide choice of currency pairs. With 330 different pairs available to trade, it offers the largest selection of any broker in Australia.
This means that the trading platform is aimed both at beginners encouraged by its simplified design, and also at professionals who only trade certain currency pairs with the platform. Accordingly, there’s an interesting client mix of professionals and beginners.
- AUS/USD spread: Starting at 0.7 pips (no average data available)
- Number of forex pairs: Over 300 currency pairs
- Minimum deposit: $0
IC Markets - Best for professionals
Founded in 2007, IC Markets is a Sydney-headquartered broker offering a highly customisable trading platform that is excellent for established traders. However, newcomers may find the trading platform overwhelming and may do better elsewhere, at least initially.
IC prides itself on providing traders with ‘the lowest spreads possible during all market conditions.’ This is made possible by its trade servers in the NY4 & LD5 data centre in New York & London respectively, with dedicated fibre optic that connects the platform and its pricing providers to ensure the lowest latency and fastest possible trade execution for clients.
The Raw Spread account starts from 0.0 pips, with flexible leverage options up to 1:500. And IC Market’s tech ranks prices to allow real-time execution of large trades over multiple pricing providers and their pricing tiers, ensuring the best price for any trade size.
Clients have access to tools including Depth of Market (DoM), inbuilt spread monitoring, ladder trading, and automated close of trades with custom order templates. They also have direct access to Raw Pricing using any of the MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, and cTrader platforms.
Why I like IC Markets for trading forex
IC Markets is very clearly aimed at seasoned professionals looking for the best prices, customisable accounts, extremely accurate pricing, and the very latest forex tools.
More specifically, the provider lends itself to scalping strategies — where traders buy and sell small amounts of currency ultra-fast to turn a profit. However, this is not a platform for beginners, and there is little ‘hand-holding’ available for newcomers to get started.
- AUS/USD spread: Starting from 0.0 pips on the raw account
- Number of forex pairs: 60 currency pairs
- Minimum deposit: €200
Saxo offers 190 forex spot pairs, somewhere in the middle of the available global range. It also offers very competitive spreads, allowing clients to trade the major currency pairs from 0.4 pips, with Tier-1 liquidity which gives higher fill-rates, fewer premature stop-outs, and significant price improvements.
Clients benefit from over 50 technical indicators, integrated trade signals, news feeds, and multiple risk innovative management features.
Saxo has the best user experience (UX) platform design in my view, and it has won multiple awards for its SaxoTraderGo platform which allows clients to trade seamlessly from multiple devices. It’s hard to quantify in words exactly why the platform works so well compared to competitors, but it clearly works to attract clients — fully regulated in 15 countries and serving 876,000 clients globally.
Why I like Saxo Markets for trading forex
Saxo Bank offers 24/7 customer service and is the clear winner from a user-friendliness perspective. However, there is a catch, as the platform requires a minimum of AU$ 1,000 in initial funding. While traders will need at least this amount to trade effectively, this is a stumbling block for those dipping their toes in.
On the other hand, it offers a reward program that allows investors to qualify for lower prices and forex trading account upgrades. Investors will need to judge whether the slightly higher pricing is worth the superior UX.
- AUS/USD spread: 0.6 pips average
- Number of forex pairs: 130 currency pairs
- Minimum deposit: €2,000
IG boasts 313,000 clients worldwide and offers Australia-based forex traders 80 currency pairs, which is about average. As an ASIC-regulated broker, you can benefit from a maximum of 30:1 leverage. And IG also offers the ProRealTime charting analysis tool, the only provider in Australia to do so.
However, IG offers little by way of social trading, and no copy trading facilities at all. The minimum deposit is $250, and like the range of currency pairs, it offers middle-of-the-range competitive pricing. There’s also a demo account to check out.
Why I like IG Index for trading forex
IG has a hard-won reputation for educational excellence, with an in-depth ‘Educational Academy’ that helps beginners and experts alike get the very best out of their forex investing.
For example, there are learning materials including graded investing courses and interactive quizzes to help test your knowledge. Together with an intuitive platform, this makes IG Index a solid choice for beginners.
- AUS/USD spread: starting at 0.8 pips
- Number of forex pairs: 80
- Minimum deposit: $250
Originally a UK-based platform, FXCM has found success in its expanding Australian operation. The company is aimed at professional traders, with an ‘active trader account’ which offers in-depth technical analysis tools, and a generous rebate program which offers cashback on all live trades.
In addition, no commission is charged, and spreads are tight relative to competitors. However, there are only 43 currency pairs on offer, the minimum deposit is $250, and it charges an inactivity fee if you don’t use your account.
While this is unlikely to deter many traders, this means that esoteric currency pairs must be traded elsewhere.
Why I like FXCM for trading forex
FXCM is a solid contender for more experienced forex traders, as its suite of advanced trading and charting tools make it easy to develop your own forex trading strategies and stay current with price trends.
Better yet, FXCM has a suite of features that are designed to take some of the complexity out of forex trading. For example, you can set up free SMS price alerts that keep you current with any currency pair price movements, gain access to volume and trader sentiment, and access a market scanner that helps you find worthy investments.
FXCM's flagship trading platform, Trading Station, makes forex trade execution simple and gives you the tools to conduct your own technical analysis of foreign exchange markets.
- AUS/USD spread: starting at 1.9 pips
- Number of forex pairs: 43
- Minimum deposit: $50
eToro remains one of the most well-known forex trading platforms globally, being the trailblazer for investing accessibility since its launch in 2007.
The platform’s tagline is ‘Investing Made Social,’ so it’s no surprise where its strength lies. However, there is significant psychological pressure on the platform itself to engage in copy-trading — and newer traders should take care to research all this entails. For example, traders with the best returns are often taking huge risks that may not pay off in the future.
Why I like eToro for trading forex
eToro’s major draw card is its social trading feature and copy trading facilities. This can provide an opportunity to learn from other traders. Additionally, there are some robust educational resources that can help remove some of the complexities of forex trading including the eToro Trading Academy which includes webinars, an e-course, and trading tips.
eToro remains one of the cheapest online brokers available. There is the consideration that your account must be in USD so you will need to convert your Australian dollars previously to avoid poor exchange rates.
- AUS/USD spread: starting at 1.0 pips
- Number of forex pairs: Over 47 currency pairs
- Minimum deposit: $50
Stocks via eToro Service ARSN 637 489 466 Capital at risk. See PDS and TMD
Copytrading allows you to ‘copy’ or ‘follow’ others. Assets held in your name, including OTC Derivatives (leveraged financial products) and crypto assets (unregulated). Past performance not an indicator of future results.
Oanda - Best for ease of use
Oanda is a well-known forex broker with a global presence. Here you can experience lightning-fast execution speeds when compared to other forex brokers coupled with an excellent level of customer service.
Oanda also have an excellent demo account that is useful for practising trades and getting to grips with the platform. This is completely unlimited, and you can use leverage and profit and loss levels.
Why I like Oanda for trading forex
Oanda offer forex traders the MT4 trading platform in addition to their own proprietary platform. This has an easy-to-use, clean interface with excellent design and a number of features to aid your forex trading strategies. These include streaming news and advanced performance tools such as order book overlay, position ratios, and a news aggregator.
Traders are able to automate their forex trading strategies using Oanda’s API technology.
- AUS/USD spread: 1.2 pips at time of writing (no average data available)
- Number of forex pairs: Over 70 currency pairs
- Minimum deposit: $0
76.6% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
Australia best forex brokers
Investing and trading beginners will often start out by contributing to index trackers within a tax-efficient super fund. For context, contributions to super funds are taxed, but you can then access the fund tax-free at retirement.
As you get a 15% concessionary tax rate of just 15% on contributions up to AU$27,500 per annum, this vehicle is incredibly popular.
However, unlike the UK, Australia has no equivalent product to an ISA, where gains are free from Capital Gains or Income Tax. This means that there is less incentive to invest in stocks, with many preferring instead to attempt forex trading in order to generate returns.
Here is a breakdown of brokers to help you find the best trading platform in Australia for your unique needs.
Beginners and advanced traders
Range of currency pairs
Beginners and intermediate forex investors
Advanced analytics and reporting
Excellent trading platform
Good all round services
All levels of traders
Range of trading platforms
Advanced trading tools
Experienced CFD traders
Ease of use
How does forex trading work?
Forex trading refers to the process of exchanging one currency for another with the intention of making a profit. This is achieved by using various tools and analyses to help speculate how the value of one currency will move against another.
It’s important to establish that when you trade forex, you never own the underlying currency, but rather you are speculating whether the value will increase or decrease. This is similar in scope to CFDs, although CFDs allow traders to speculate on the price movement of many different assets and are therefore more complex than forex.
Currencies are always traded in pairs with the first listed currency being the base currency and the second listed being the quote currency. In the instance of AUD/USD, the Australian dollar is the base currency and USD is the quote currency.
The base currency is always at the value of 1, with the quote currency representing the number required to purchase 1 unit of the base currency.
What is leverage?
Usually, when trading forex, you will only be required to purchase a small amount of the total stake. This is because trading platforms will offer leverage, allowing you to trade a much larger amount than you can afford, thus magnifying your gains on small movements in the currency market.
It’s really important to be aware that whilst leverage is a useful tool for magnifying gains, the opposite is also true, meaning any losses incurred will also be magnified, often beyond the value of the original stake.
How to start trading forex
- Brush up on your forex knowledge. Trading forex is risky and you should therefore ensure you learn as much as possible about it before you start trading.
- Select the best forex trading platform for you. Make sure the forex trading platform suits your level of experience.
- Develop your trading strategy. A solid trading strategy that takes into account analysis on price movements will glean the best results.
- Place your trades and monitor your position. Many forex brokers will provide tools to help you keep track of price movements.
Pros and cons of forex trading
- High liquidity
- Open for trading 24 hours a day, five days a week
- Can trade a small capital with leverage to increase gains
- Leverage can increase losses
- Requires knowledge of economic fundamentals and how to use indicators
- Less regulated
Which is the best forex broker in Australia?
For those looking to enter the forex markets, the first decision to be made is which forex platform to open an account with. As a general rule, I’d encourage anybody looking to trade forex pairs to open several demo accounts with some of these best Australian forex brokers to get a feel of what works best for you.
It’s no coincidence that there's a wide variety of forex brokers to choose from; it’s by far the most popular form of trading in the world, with US$6.6 trillion of transactions taking place every day — for context, the market value of every ASX stock put together is less than AU$2.5 trillion.
Generally, people will unwittingly come into contact with forex when exchanging currency for holidays, but as you will see, there’s a bit more to trading forex pairs than meets the eye.
Importantly, most forex brokers focus on delivering specific strengths to stand out in the ultra-competitive market. For example, some offer ultra-economical fees, others look to provide a seamless forex trading experience or educational tools, while others provide extremely complex instruments that are only really useful to professionals.
This means that there is no truly BEST Australian forex broker — despite every forex broker seemingly having won awards for their platforms — only the best forex broker for you.
Regulation in the Australian forex market
All forex trading platforms in Australia are subject to heavy regulation by the ASIC (Australian Securities and Investment Commission). ASIC requires all Australian brokers that accept forex trading to obtain an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL).
Only trading platforms with this level of regulation and permitted to market their services to Australian traders, ensuring all trader's funds are secure and that the trading platform in question is fully transparent regarding its costs and services.
As part of this regulation, forex trading platforms in Australia are only able to offer retail traders leverage of 30:1 on forex. This is a relatively new limit which has been put in place to protect Australian forex traders from losing large amounts of money due to leverage.
What are some of the risks of forex trading in Australia?
Forex trading is a risky endeavour and it's important to understand where these risks lie before commencing trading.
- Small movements in the market can lead to major losses. This is due to the amount of leverage usually enabled during trading which can quickly accelerate gains, but also losses, sometimes beyond the original stake.
- Volatile exchange rates. Exchange rates tend to swing up and down quickly, even in small periods of time. These fluctuations can lead to gains, but equally, should they move against you, you could stand to lose money.
- Currency movements can be unpredictable.
- Protections can be costly. Many trading platforms will offer risk management solutions such as negative balance protection and stop loss orders. However, these can come at a premium price.
- Lack of liquidity, system issues, and execution risks can all affect your ability to place a trade.
Are bonuses offered in forex trading?
Yes, the most common bonuses offered are usually for new customers who open and fund their account. However, none of the forex platforms on this list offer a bonus at this time.
What are the most commonly traded currency pairs?
Due to its performance, stability, and high volatility, the most traded currency pair during the Sydney trading session is the AUD/USD pair.
Outside of Australia, the most commonly traded currency pair on the market is EUR/USD, making up 22.7% of daily forex transactions in 2022.
Is there a best time of day to trade forex?
Whilst forex is available at any time of day, 5 days a week, there are times when most of the international businesses and banks are most active, resulting in more liquidity.
Liquidity refers to how active the foreign exchange market is, in terms of the number of traders actively trading and the total volume of transactions. This can present opportunities for forex trading, allowing traders to take advantage of swings in the value of currencies.
Sadly for Australian residents, the times that the forex market is most liquid are between the hours of 3 am and 12 pm GMT for the London session and 8 am to 5 pm GMT for the New York session.
How to choose the best forex trading platforms
There are a few questions you will need to answer in order to decipher which is the best forex trading platform for your needs. These include:
- Which currency pairs am I interested in trading?
- What is my level of experience and knowledge in currency trading?
- Do I intend to be a full-time forex trader or a casual forex trader?
Once you have established this, you can decide which features are most important to you.
- What is the fee structure of the platform? Is it commission free? What is the spread on my intended currencies?
- What trading and analysis tools are available? Can you access historical pricing trends, customisable charts, and technical indicators?
- How many currency pairs are available?
- What are the execution speeds? Aim to find a broker with sub 0.1-second speeds in order to avoid any slippage.
- Is there a demo account available?
FAQs about trading forex in Australia
Is forex trading legal in Australia
Yes, forex trading is legal in Australia, even for retail traders, and all activity is overseen by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).
Which forex broker gives the highest leverage in Australia?
The highest leverage forex broker in Australia is FXTM, which offers leverage of 2000:1 on major forex pairs, but traders should be cautious when trading with this kind of leverage as it can result in a negative balance.
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