Forex trading in Australia is interesting both for international traders and Australian citizens. Australian-based brokers have to be authorised by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). ASIC regulated brokers are those that have passed a set of standards set by the institution. Being approved to operate in Australia means that their activities will be monitored by ASIC and investors can conduct their transactions by using their brokers’ trading platforms knowing that there’s a government agency that has their backs. ASIC is the financial markets regulator and every forex broker must be authorized by them. ASIC’s website is asic.gov.au and their twitter account is @ASIC_Connect. That said, if you wish to engage in forex trading in Australia you should partner with the right forex broker and this list will help you in choosing who you will work with.
Best Forex Broker Australia
We compiled a list of the best ASIC regulated forex broker and ranked them. This is our list of the top Australian Forex brokers:
- AvaTrade – Best Overall Forex Broker 2020
- eToro – Best Australian Social Forex Broker
- Plus500 – Best Forex Trading Platform for Advanced Traders
- CMC Markets – Best for High Net-worth Investors
- Saxo Bank – Best Premium FX Broker
- City Index – Best Research Tools
- FXCM – Great Education for Forex Traders
- IG – Best Advanced Features
- Pepperstone – Best Advanced Features
Why should you read this list of best Australian forex brokers?
There are dozens of brokers in Australia and possibly hundreds of trading platforms and forex brokers around the world. While it is great to have so many options available, it is also overwhelming to find the best among so many.
For that reason, we decided to compile the following list of the best forex brokers for traders living in Australia, to help you in narrowing down your alternatives based on a set of variables we consider important to make the right choice.
Compare Forex Brokers Australia In Detail
Available To Australian’s
Average Spread EUR/USD
YES (licence #406684)
YES (licence #491139)
YES (licence #417727)
YES (licence #238054 )
YES (licence #220440)
YES (licence #280372)
YES (licence #345646)
YES (licence #309763)
YES (licence #414530)
1.00 – 1.300
1 – Avatrade – Best Broker Overall
AvaTrade was founded in 2006 and is regulated by the top tier-1 and tier-2 authorities. AvaTrade is adhering with 8 financial regulatory authorities in 6 jurisdictions for across the globe. AvaTrade is a safe broker for both CFD and forex trading.
Currently this online broker is authorised by:
- Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC)
- Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC)
- Japanese Financial Services Authority (JFSA)
- British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission (B.V.I)
- South African Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA)
- Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA)
- Central Bank Of Ireland (CBI)
- Polish Financial Supervision Authority (PFSA)
On top of MetaTrader, ZuluTrade, DupliTrade (great for social trading) AvaTrade also developed their own proprietary web trading platform. A wide variety of forex trading platforms makes AvaTrade one of the best in this aspect.
AvaTrade is constantly expanding their range of investment products, trading tools and the number of licences.
Fees & Commissions
In November 2019, AvaTrade reduced their spreads by up to 50%, making it one of the most competitive brokers. All of their spreads are over market. Overall their fees are great.
Avatrade trading fees are low, which is also suitable for traders that trade multiple times per week.
Compliant with a wide variety of tier-1 and tier-2 authorities
Phone support not the best
Offers only CFDs, Forex and Cryptos
Competitive fees & commissions
Great array of trading platforms
Great research tools
Fast account opening
Multiple deposit and withdrawal options
2 – eToro – Best Social Trading Platform
eToro was founded in Israel in 2007 and it is one of the most popular brokers in the world due to the company’s significant marketing efforts. This broker is regulated by two tier-1 financial authorities in the United Kingdom and Australia.
eToro has popularized the concept of social trading by introducing a social media-like trading platform that allows users to interact with each other and even copy their portfolios. This feature is particularly attractive to traders in Australia who can learn from others while they form their own judgment and gain enough experience to trade by themselves.
The simplicity of its trading platform is one of the characteristics that makes eToro so appealing to entry-level traders who can benefit from a user-friendly interface and a collaborative environment.
eToro offers 47 currency pairs to trade and nearly 2,000 CFDs covering commodities, cryptocurrencies, and other assets.
Fees & Commissions
eToro’s fees and spreads are above the average for forex spot trading and CFDs. This broker charges a fixed rate of 3 pips for EUR/USD trades.
The platform also offers a five-level PRO membership that requires minimum balances ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. These accounts entitle the holder to an account manager and lower withdrawal and deposit fees, along with other VIP benefits.
The minimum deposit for standard accounts is $200, in line with other Australian forex brokers.
Users can trade actual cryptocurrencies rather than only CFDs
Automated trading systems are not permitted (social trading is)
User-friendly trading platform for entry-level investors
MetaTrader is not available for eToro users
Its social trading feature is one of the best in the industry
Educational materials are limited to platform-related tutorials.
Decent research tools.
Great mobile trading app
3 – Plus500 – Best for Advanced Traders
Plus500 is a London-based publicly-traded company and broker that was founded in 2008. It is regulated by three tier-1 regulatory agencies in the UK, Cyprus, and Singapore, which makes it a highly reliable alternative for traders in Australia.
Among other Australian forex brokers, this trading platform offers highly competitive spreads and it is considered one of the best alternatives for advanced forex traders.
Its trading platform is very user-friendly and that is why it is one of the preferred choices for those starting in the forex trading arena. The company provides a wide range of tutorials and learning materials to help traders in Australia in understanding how the platform works.
On the other hand, the platform lacks diversity when it comes to the number of currency pairs it offers. Currently, 50 forex pairs are available through CFDs for traders in Australia, even though Plus500 offers a large selection of CFDs, more than 2,000 to be precise.
Fees & Commissions
The spreads charged per trade by Plus500 are regularly adjusted, even though the EUR/USD spread is fixed at 0.6 pips. For other pairs, the spread often ranges from 1 to even 4 pips. It is important to note that Plus500 does not publish a list of average spreads per pair.
The minimum deposit for new accounts is €100.
Publicly-traded company with more than 12 years in operation
Average spreads for different pairs are not publicly available
One of the best brokers for amateurs
Not the best choice for active traders as it lacks some features
User-friendly interface, especially for beginners
Research materials, news feeds, and other similar tools are somewhat limited
Low minimum deposit
4 – CMC Markets – Great for High Net-Worth Investors
CMC Markets is a popular forex broker regulated by ASIC and three other tier-1 authorities. Additionally, CMC Markets is a publicly-traded company with over 30 years of experience in the online trading industry, making it a low-risk choice for traders in Australia.
This broker specializes in providing low-cost trades for both amateur and professional traders, offering 180 spot forex currency pairs and nearly 10,000 different CFDs covering a wide range of financial instruments and assets.
Trading forex pairs with CMC Markets is usually cheaper compared to other brokers and this is one of the platform’s most important competitive advantages.
CMC Markets provides great research tools for traders including news feeds, market insights, and third-party content from Reuters and Morningstar.
Its mobile app also features a wide range of tools that are not usually available in other platforms including 29 out of 81 of the technical analysis indicators featured by its desktop app.
The quality of its customer support ranked 6th out of 22 brokers surveyed.
Fees & Commissions
Trading EUR/USD through this broker costs 0.7 pips, which is a highly competitive rate, while the average spread for other pairs is around 0.71 pips.
VIP accounts are available for clients in Australia who have spent over $3,000 in commissions or have an account balance of over $2.5 million.
This platform offers a great feature known as Guaranteed Stop-Loss, which reduces execution risks for active investors, even though it comes at a cost of $8 per 100,000 units of EUR/USD.
No minimum deposit is required to open an account with this broker.
Below-market trading costs
Limited educational materials
VIP accounts for high net-worth traders
Cryptocurrencies can only be traded through CFDs.
Advanced tools and software are available for professional traders through its Next Generation trading platform
No minimum deposit required to open an account
Guaranteed stop-loss orders are available
High number of currency pairs available compared to the competition
Great research tools and materials
ASIC regulated broker
5 – IG – Great Research Content
IG was founded in 1978 and it is supervised by regulatory bodies in six different tier-1 jurisdictions around the world, making it one of the most reliable forex trading platforms in the globe. IG is registered and regulated by ASIC as well.
This broker offers more than 17,000 financial instruments for traders, while it specializes in forex trading and CFDs.
IG offers traders 93 different forex pairs and the possibility of engaging in forex spot trading.
Additionally, the platform also offers CFDs for its forex pairs and for cryptocurrencies as well.
Fees & Commissions
The latest information on IG indicates that the average spread for forex trades is around 0.73 pips (they vary widely depending on the pair), while the minimum spread for a EUR/USD pair is 0.6 pips. This applies to mini and standard size contracts.
There’s a minimum initial deposit of £250 to open an account with IG.
Meanwhile, for active traders and professionals who qualify, IG offers discounts on its standard spreads but requires a minimum deposit of £1,000.
User-friendly web-based trading platform that features advanced charts and real-time prices
Advanced research is not available for users with low deposits
ASIC regulated broker
Cryptocurrencies can only be traded through CFDs
Research content for users with deposits of over $500 (Real Vision TV) and $5,000 (Real Vision Research)
Automated trading signal recognition software that provides trade ideas
Mobile trading app
Its customer service was ranked 8th within a list of 22 brokers surveyed
6 – SaxoBank – Best Premium Broker
SaxoBank’s trading platform is regulated by ASIC and other five tier-1 jurisdictions and it also counts with the support of its banking unit to further strengthen its credibility. This Danish bank was founded in 1982 and it offers investors the possibility of trading more than 40,000 different instruments including 182 forex currency pairs and 35,000 CFDs.
That said, SaxoBank is not a platform designed for entry-level traders as its minimum initial deposit is well above the average compared to other regulated brokers in this article. However, its trading software is one of the best in the industry, featuring all the tools that experienced investors need to conduct their analyses.
Fees & Commissions
SaxoBank fees start at 0.4 pips, including a fixed rate of 0.6 pips for EUR/USD trades. Meanwhile, high-volume trades offer an attractive rate of 0.5 pips.
For clients in Australia, the bank’s Classic account demands a minimum deposit of USD $10,000 while other premium alternatives require more than USD $200,000.
Proprietary trading platforms (SaxTraderGO and SaxoTradePRO) are one of the best in the industry
Above-average minimum deposit
Research materials feature both in-house and third-party investment analyses, both of which are available within the platform
Requires a minimum deposit of $20,000 to use MetaTrader along with a minimum requirement of $2,000 spent per month
High-quality mobile app
Excellent customer support
7 – City Index – Best Research Tools
City Index is backed by one of the world’s largest retail brokers, GAIN Capital, and this makes it a great choice for investors in Australia seeking competitive spreads and premium research tools from a leading force in the trading industry.
This broker is regulated by three tier-1 financial authorities in the UK, Australia (ASIC), and Singapore, and it offers investors the possibility of trading 84 currency pairs and 4,500 different CFDs, including cryptocurrency CFDs.
Among other Australian forex brokers, City Index stands out due to its low-cost approach, which is particularly enticing for traders who are on a tight budget.
Fees & Commissions
At 0.8 pips, the spread charged on EUR/USD is slightly higher compared to other brokers, yet its average spreads for all other forex pairs are fairly low, especially if compared among premium alternatives. Meanwhile, the spreads are significantly higher for professional traders using MT4 platforms.
The minimum deposit required to open an account with City Index in Australia is £50.00.
Low average spreads
Spreads are considerably higher for professional traders compared to other brokers
Low minimum deposit
Great mobile app and web-based trading software
AT pro (the platform’s pro trading software) features more than 139 indicators and 25 drawing tools
Research tools including an economic calendar, news feed, and market research reports
Positive reviews on its customer service
8 – FXCM – Great Education
FXCM is a subsidiary of New York-based Jefferies Financial Group, an American publicly traded company founded in 1968 with a market capitalization of nearly $4bn. The company possesses a license from three tier-1 jurisdictions – Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom – and its main advantage compared to other brokers is that it caters to a wide range of traders going from day traders to algorithmic traders and quant funds.
This broker offers just 39 currency pairs and 32 CFD contracts, which is a fairly limited number of instruments, yet its advanced features make it attractive to sophisticated players.
Research tools provided by FXCM are decent and should be good enough for the audience it serves. They include premium content from Trading Central and a news feed from Investing.com.
Traders who are new to the sophisticated trading strategies supported by FXCM can also gain from its educational materials on algorithmic trading and quant trading.
Fees & Commissions
For standard accounts, the cost of trading some of the most popular pairs, such as EUR/USD, is 1.3 pips. Which is almost twice what other platforms charge to entry-level users.
On the other hand, PRO users can benefit from lower spreads starting at 0.45 pips.
The minimum deposit for standard accounts is £300 while pro users must deposit at least £25,000 to enjoy the lower spreads.
Top-notch trading platforms available for PRO users
Higher than average spreads for standard accounts
A great alternative for sophisticated traders
Best suited to serve active traders than casual ones
Premium research content and news grid
Limited number of currency pairs and CFDs
Decent mobile trading app
9 – Pepperstone – Best Advanced Features
Pepperstone offers a somehow limited number of products to trade but it excels in its competitive spreads, customer support, and varied selection of copy trading alternatives.
This broker has more than 10 years in the industry and it is regulated by ASIC (Australia) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of the United Kingdom.
Pepperstone focuses on serving sophisticated traders by providing MetaTrader and cTrader platforms along with other premium features.
It offers 59 currency pairs and 86 different CFDs. Cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, can only be traded through CFDs.
Fees & Commissions
The cost of trading through Pepperstone varies depending on the type of account the trader selects, yet its pricing is among the most competitive compared to other forex brokers in Australia.
The Razor account is a commission-based account while the standard account incorporates commissions within the spreads. Fees vary between each of these accounts as well, but not significantly.
For Razor accounts the cost of trading EUR/USD is 0.91 pips on average, including a 0.753 flat commission, while the standard account does not charge a commission, even though the spread is higher – 1.13 pips on average.
The minimum initial deposit to open an account with Pepperstone is $200.
Supports nearly every trading platform including MetaTrader, cTrader, and cAlgo
Limited number of currency pairs and CFDs compared to competitors
This broker allows for social copy trading
More suited for sophisticated traders
It offers two types of accounts (Razor and Standard) that cater to different needs
It does not have a proprietary trading platform
Lacks in-house research content but compensates with great third-party materials
High-quality customer service
What should you look for in a forex broker?
The best forex brokers assist traders in conducting their operations at an affordable cost while providing top-notch trading platforms, outstanding customer service, and a wide range of financial products to choose from.
Additionally, the best forex brokers also remain compliant with Australian regulations, based on the guidelines and rules established by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
Finally, a great forex broker provides educational materials, training programs, tutorials, and tons of information to help you in getting better at forex trading.
As we explained above, it is possible – and highly likely – that you will lose money by engaging in forex trading, but the right educational and research tools may help you move up along the learning curve so you can eventually become a successful forex trader.
What’s the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)?
Even though it is a known fact that a high percentage of forex accounts lose money, there are many regulatory agencies around the world, especially in the countries where forex trading is highly popular, that seek to prevent frauds and scams from forex brokers.
In Australia, the institution in charge of overseeing forex brokers and other financial and investment organizations is known as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
The role of this organization is to ensure the adequate functioning of financial providers, including forex brokers in Australia, by enforcing a set of rules and guidelines that seek to maintain an optimal level of transparency within the financial markets.
To put it in plain words, their job is to basically protect investors by preventing unlawful practices that may harm their interests.
ASIC regulated brokers are those that have passed a set of standards set by the institution. Being approved to operate in Australia means that their activities will be monitored by ASIC and investors can conduct their transactions by using their brokers’ trading platforms knowing that there’s a government agency that has their backs.
More information about ASIC can be found on their website and ASIC regulated forex brokers have to display their license number on their websites to inform investors that they have been approved to operate in Australia.
Meanwhile, certain well-reputed trading platforms offer their services to forex traders in Australia even though they may not be regulated by ASIC directly. In this case, it is important to ensure that your forex broker is licensed and regulated by a peer agency in the country they have been registered.
This is a quick list of regulatory bodies in the countries where brokers are usually registered:
Canada – Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC)
United States – Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC)
Singapore – Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
European Union – European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)
Cyprus – Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CSEC)
Switzerland – Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (SFMSA)
United Kingdom – Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
What is a ‘pip’?
You probably read this term throughout this article, especially in the fees & commission section of each broker on the list, and it is important that you understand what it means.
A pip is one unit of the last decimal place of a forex price quote. The price of most forex pairs is usually displayed with up 4 or 5 decimals, even though some pairs only feature 2 or 3 decimals. In any case, one pip is a single unit of the last decimal place.
Let’s say that the USD/EUR pair is trading at 1.0023. One pip for USD/EUR means 0.0001. Meanwhile, let’s say another pair such as the USD/JPY is trading at 1.02. A pip for that pair would be worth 0.01.
That’s probably enough context and information to introduce you to the interesting and profitable world of forex trading. Now, let’s move on to the long-awaited list of best brokers for forex trading Australia.
Best Forex Trading Platform Australia 2020
Here are the best Australian Forex Brokers:
- Ava Trade – 4.9/5 – Best Overall Broker
- eToro – 4.9/5 – Best For Social Trading
- Plus500 – 4.8/5 – Good for Advanced Traders
- CMC Markets – 4.2/5 – Best Web Platform
- Saxo Bank – 4.4/5 – Best Premium Broker
- City Index – 4.1/5 – Best Research Available
- FXCM – 4/5 – Great Education Available
- IG – 4.3/5 – Best for Advanced Features
- Pepperstone – 4.2/5 – Great Third-Party Research
Summary and conclusion
The foreign exchange market is the largest financial market in the world, with a total market capitalization nearing the $2 quadrillion dollars and operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The daily trading volume of this massive market is estimated to be around $7 trillion and such a large amount of capital flowing through brokers all over the world has attracted the interest of forex traders for years.
Nearly 80% of forex market transactions are processed by hubs located in the United Kingdom, the United States, Singapore, and Hong Kong, even though Australia also has its own financial centre for forex transactions.
There are 170 currency pairs in the forex market and the most traded ones feature the US dollar (USD) as the base currency, while the most popular counter currencies include the Japanese yen (USD/JPY), the pound sterling (USD/GBP), the euro (USD/EUR), the Canadian Dollar (USD/CAD), the Australian Dollar (USD/AUD), and the Swiss Franc (USD/CHF).
It is important to note that not a high percentage of forex traders are successful in this endeavor due to the inherent complexity and volatility of this financial market. In fact, statistics show that nearly 71% of retail traders lose money in the forex market, while the remaining 29% is not able to sustain their profitability for more than 4 quarters in a row.
However, that should not discourage you from becoming a forex trader as an Australian. It just goes to show that this is a challenging activity, like any other, that requires effort, training, and discipline to become a profitable venture.