Sterling Savvy



Best UK Forex Brokers in 2023

Best forex brokers UK

Looking for your perfect forex broker?

I’ve tested, scored, and ranked the best forex brokers in the UK.

Whether you’re seeking security, user-friendliness, or low spreads, I’ve got you covered.

So, in a nutshell, what are the best forex brokers in the UK? The best forex brokers in the UK include IG, Saxo Markets, and eToro. IG is known for its diverse asset offerings and strong platform. Saxo Markets provides a broad range of currency pairs and low forex fees, while eToro is popular for its social trading features.

Best Brokers for Forex Trading in the UK Ranked

Here is a quick list of the best forex brokers to use in the UK based on my hands-on analysis:

  1. IG – Overall best forex broker UK
  2. Saxo Markets – Best online forex trading platform UK
  3. eToro – Best forex broker UK for beginners & copy trading
  4. Plus500 – User-friendly CFD forex trading platform UK
  5. Pepperstone – Best UK forex broker for scalpers
  6. – Best forex broker UK for advanced traders

Best Forex Brokers UK Compared for Traders

Here I’ve compared the forex brokers based on five key rating criteria you must consider and compare:

RankBrokerNumber of currency pairsAverage Spread EUR/USDMinimum depositCommission per lotRegulation
2Saxo Markets185+0.9£500£0FCA

Best UK Forex Broker Reviews

The UK has the largest share of forex trading at 43% globally, making it the largest forex trading center worldwide1.

If you are looking to get started trading forex in the UK, you’re in luck.

There are a variety of excellent forex brokers available to UK traders, each with its unique features and benefits.

Having worked in the retail investment & trading sector in London over the last four years, I had the opportunity to experience the dynamic and fast-paced forex market first-hand.

In my role working for one of the UK’s leading financial companies, “a trustworthy and respected provider of news, education and market analysis for the everyday investor”, I was able to work with and test some of the biggest UK forex brokers on the market.

Using my experience in this field, I’ve compiled a list of the best forex brokers in the UK based on five key criteria:

  1. Number of currency pairs
  2. Average spread EUR/USD
  3. Minimum deposit
  4. Commission per lot
  5. Regulation

Factors such as usability, education materials, and additional features were also considered.

Take a look at the reviews below of the top forex trading platforms and brokers available in the United Kingdom.

1. IG – Overall best forex broker UK

IG - Overall best forex broker UK.
"68% 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."

The overall winner on my list of the best forex brokers and what I recommend is IG.

IG, a leading UK forex broker, provides various accounts for retail traders. Their platform has assets, tools, and education for both new and experienced traders.

IG’s forex trading platform combines advanced features with easy use. They provide low fees and maintain high service quality.

If you’re still new to trading, it may be helpful to check out IG’s ‘Guide for Forex Traders’. It explains the intricacies of forex trading, strategies, and its underlying benefits.

IG’s biggest advantage is its dynamic trading platforms. Whether you opt for the renowned MT4, mobile trading app, or IG’s proprietary platform, the experience is seamless.

Traders can enjoy low spreads, and with an accessible entry point of just a £250 deposit, it’s an attractive option for many. An example for spot trading on EUR/USD, IG has a minimum spread of 0.6, an average spread of 1.13, an average spread of 0.86 from 00:00 to 21:00, and a DMA average spread of 0.165.

For those hesitant about diving headfirst, I advise gaining experience with their demo account with £10,000 virtual funds.

The platform offers tools like Autochartist, technical analysis, and many indicators. It also allows flexible order placements for traders dealing with volatile assets. Finally, ProRealTime’,’s fast charts help you to deepen your analysis and identify FX opportunities.

If you’re worried about safety, negative balance protection ensures that your account never stays below zero and it’s authorised and regulated by the FCA in the UK.

There are 3 ways to trade forex with IG: spread betting, CFD, and DMA (forex direct).

Here’s a table that compares your options:

FeatureSpread bettingCFDDMA (Forex Direct)
Main benefitsProfits are tax-free
in the UK
Tax-deductible losses are
useful for hedging
Increased market transparency
and order control
Accessible toAll clientsAll clientsProfessional clients only
Traded in£ (or other base currency)
per point
Tax statusNo capital gains tax (CGT)
or stamp duty
No stamp duty, but you do pay CGT.
Losses can be offset as a tax deduction
No stamp duty, but you do pay CGT.
Losses can be offset as a tax deduction
CommissionCommission-freeCommission-free for FXVariable commission
PlatformsL2 dealer, mobile app,
terminals, and APIs
Web, mobile app,
and advanced platforms
L2 dealer, mobile app,
terminals, and APIs

IG has been in the sector for a long time, making it a trusted broker for exotic and emerging market currency pairs. IG values education, as shown by its structured academy.

The academy offers courses for all skill levels, with quizzes and exercises to help traders test their knowledge.

I’ve found that IG is most effective for traders looking to take FX trading seriously, it has everything you need. It also offers forex-spreading betting where profits are tax-free in the UK.

To top it off, it was rated ‘Most Trusted Broker in 2023, Best Overall Broker in 2023‘ at 2023 Annual Awards2.

Key rating criteria:

Number of currency pairsAverage Spread EUR/USDMinimum depositCommission per lotRegulation

Read my full IG review.


  • 24/6 customer support via chat, phone, email, and social media.
  • Full-featured mobile and tablet versions mirroring the desktop experience
  • Transparent and cost-effective margin rates
  • Offers a wide range of more than 80+ forex pairs


  • Absence of two-factor authentication for mobile users

2. Saxo Markets – Best online forex trading platform UK

Saxo Markets - Best online forex trading platform UK.

Saxo Markets is one of the best forex trading platforms for experienced traders.

Saxo Markets, the UK branch of the well-known European bank Saxo Bank, offers over 71,000 financial products in global markets, making it a strong choice in forex trading.

Its reach extends beyond the mainstream hubs of London and New York, encompassing 50+ worldwide markets.

At the heart of Saxo Markets lies a robust forex trading suite. Active traders will get the most out of a rich selection of currency pairs, ranging from majors like GBP/USD and EUR/USD to minors, exotics, and spot metals.

The platform’s extensive charting tools, equipped with 50+ technical indicators, trade signals, real-time news feeds, and integrated risk-management features, cater to both intermediate and seasoned traders alike.

While the user-friendly SaxoTraderGO is available across devices, advanced traders have the privilege of SaxoTraderPRO, a desktop-exclusive platform boasting superior functionalities.

True to its commitment to affordability, Saxo stands out with competitively low spreads starting at a mere 0.4 pips for major forex pairs.

However, traders should pay attention to overnight interest rates and other associated charges based on trade specifics.

Saxo Markets offers a wide range of products, paired with an easy-to-use web trading platform. They also provide detailed research tools vital for forex trading.

It offers more than just forex; they have CFDs, stocks, and over 300 futures options from global markets.

Saxo Markets, licensed in Switzerland and Denmark, is a trusted UK forex broker with many 5-star reviews.

Saxo Markets offers quality trading for both new and expert traders. Their strong reputation shows their commitment to a great trading experience.

Saxo Bank is best for advanced forex traders due to its 185+ currency pairs, low fees, and complex order types. Beginners might find its platforms challenging.

Key rating criteria:

Number of currency pairsAverage Spread EUR/USDMinimum depositCommission per lotRegulation

Read my full Saxo Markets review.


  • Trading platform suitable for both novices and experienced traders
  • A wide variety of assets available for trading
  • Highly competitive spread rates
  • Offers 185+ currency pairs in forex trading


  • The account verification process can be sluggish
  • Lacks round-the-clock customer support

3. eToro – Best forex broker UK for beginners & copy trading

eToro - Best forex broker for beginners UK.

For beginners looking for the best forex broker, I recommend eToro.

Since its start in 2007, eToro has become a top forex broker in the UK, especially for new investors.

Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Israeli-based eToro offers more than just traditional trading; it’s leading a social trading shift.

eToro offers a unique social and copy trading feature, letting new traders learn from and follow the moves of experienced pros.

Copying trades on eToro doesn’t ensure profits, but this feature sets it apart, especially for UK beginners.

Deposits on the platform are free, and it earns from spreads. A £5 withdrawal fee applies, but with many payment methods like debit cards, bank transfers, and e-wallets, it prioritises user ease.

eToro aims to make online trading accessible without high costs. Its 30 million global users show its trust and popularity3.

The platform is beginner-friendly but still offers a sophisticated mobile interface for traders of all levels.

New traders will value eToro’s wide range of educational tools, including short courses, blogs, videos, and podcasts on key trading topics.

One of its greatest advantages is the thriving social ecosystem and the CopyTrader feature.

If you’re confused about how or what to trade, this unique functionality allows you to automatically replicate the trades of successful traders on the platform.

With a diverse offering of over 52 forex pairs accessible from any device, eToro’s commitment to user-centric trading is evident.

However, a caveat for advanced traders: eToro operates solely on its proprietary platform, which means third-party integrations like MetaTrader are off the table.

For beginners seeking the best forex broker, I recommend eToro for its community, shared insights, and easy-to-use platform.

Key rating criteria:

Number of currency pairsAverage Spread EUR/USDMinimum depositCommission per lotRegulation

Read my full eToro review.


  • Supports multiple payment options
  • Intuitive trading platform with a copy-trading feature
  • Quick and responsive customer service
  • Oversight by multiple high-level financial regulators


  • Charges a £5 fee for withdrawals

4. Plus500 – User-friendly forex trading platform UK

Plus500 - Overall best forex broker UK.

Plus500 is popular for its easy-to-use web and mobile platform, making it a top choice for CFD trading, including forex.

Its commission-free trades and low non-trading fees make it a top choice for traders on a budget.

The Plus500 app is compatible with Android, Windows, iOS, and smartwatches, allowing traders easy access to in-depth analyses, account management, and trading, along with tools to protect their investments.

With over 70 forex pairs available and the assurance of 24/7 support, traders are well-equipped to navigate the forex landscape.

Trading forex on Plus500 is not just commission-free; the platform also offers competitive spreads as its primary revenue source.

Traders should pay attention to fees like the overnight funding fee and currency conversion charges. Signing up is easy: a deposit of £100 begins your investment journey.

Beginner forex traders can take advantage of Plus500’s free demo account for a hands-on experience of the platform without any financial risks.

If you’re worried about security, Plus500 is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LON: PLUS) and is regulated by leading bodies like the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

Plus500 is a great forex broker for beginner traders utilising CFDs due to the platform’s easy-to-use features, including an economic calendar and enhanced charts. However, it lacks educational content and market research, which might disappoint active traders.

Key rating criteria:

Number of currency pairsAverage Spread EUR/USDMinimum depositCommission per lotRegulation

Read my full Plus500 review.


  • Globally subject to stringent regulations
  • Offers over 2,500 CFDs in various asset categories
  • No commissions on trades
  • User-friendly interface


  • Lacks phone-based customer support
  • Limited educational resources

5. Pepperstone – Best UK forex broker for scalpers

Pepperstone - Best UK forex broker for scalpers.

If forex scalping is your thing, Peppertsone may be the best forex broker for you.

Scalpers will value Pepperstone for its fast trade executions, often under 30 minutes, and the industry’s narrow spreads.

But that’s just the beginning. The platform’s two-tiered account system ensures that traders of all levels find a home.

The standard account, best suited for beginners, boasts forex spreads that start at a mere 0.6 pips.

When you couple this with a commission-free framework, it offers an incredibly cost-efficient trading experience.

Advanced traders should use the Razor account, which offers competitive commission spreads on key forex pairs.

Trading diversity is a hallmark of Pepperstone. With the capacity to trade in more than 60 currency pairs – including mainstays like EUR/USD, GBP/USD, and exotic pairs.

Their distinct offering of currency indices, such as the US Dollar Index (USDX), Euro Index (EURX), and Japanese Yen Index (JPYX), empowers traders to elevate their strategies in a dynamic forex landscape. But it’s not just about currency.

Pepperstone goes above and beyond with access to over 1,200 trading instruments, enabling CFD trading across forex, stocks, ETFs, commodities, and more. Even the entry barriers are low, with a free account setup complemented by a practice-friendly demo account.

Functionality meets versatility as Pepperstone integrates top-tier trading software. Whether you’re a novice finding your footing on MT4 and MT5, or a seasoned trader keen on the insights of TradingView, cTrader, and more, the platform caters to all.

Added perks like DupliTrade and Capitalise AI bring social trading and automation into the mix without the need for coding expertise. As with any platform that offers such depth, there’s inevitably a learning curve.

True, Pepperstone might not be the first pick for absolute beginners due to its emphasis on platforms like cTrader. However, its vast array of intelligent trading tools, both free and premium, make the learning experience more interactive and informed.

Plus, for those who fancy social trading, Pepperstone doesn’t disappoint, offering limited but effective features to mirror and interact with seasoned traders. Customer support, often the backbone of a stellar trading experience, is where Pepperstone truly shines.

Award-winning assistance is at traders’ fingertips, whether through phone, live chat, or email. The platform is regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), ensuring traders of its high standards and legitimacy.

Pepperstone is a leading forex broker with wide market access, precise tools, and an active community for traders. Though there’s a learning phase, the insights and opportunities are rewarding.

Key rating criteria:

Number of currency pairsAverage Spread EUR/USDMinimum depositCommission per lotRegulation

Read my full Pepperstone review.


  • Provides access to over 60 currencies through top-notch desktop and mobile platforms
  • Features currency indices to capitalise on forex market volatility
  • Highly rated for customer satisfaction and value for money


  • More competitive pricing is available for CFDs and spread betting

6. – Best forex broker UK for advanced traders - Best forex broker UK for advanced traders, the final forex broker I suggest, boasts a global reputation as the largest MetaTrader broker.

Offering an impressive selection of over 80 currency pairs, it’s a one-stop shop for forex enthusiasts., a part of the publicly traded StoneX Group Inc. (NASDAQ: SNEX) and overseen by top-tier regulators, provides traders with a secure forex trading platform.

It’s easy to use, and you can start an account digitally with only a 100-unit base currency deposit.

Plus, the broker offers commission-free trading with competitive spreads starting at 0.8%. excels in educational and research tools, catering to both beginners and seasoned traders. Mobile traders have the flexibility to choose between MT4 and’s proprietary platform, both full of essential trading tools.

It allows leveraged trading, giving traders the option to maximise their market exposure. A demo account is also available for practice before going live. offers a clear and full trading experience, making it a top pick for UK forex traders.

Key rating criteria:

Number of currency pairsAverage Spread EUR/USDMinimum depositCommission per lotRegulation


  • Sophisticated yet easy-to-navigate trading interface
  • Abundant educational and research resources
  • Extensive selection of over 80 forex pairs


  • Inactivity fees applied after one year of non-use

How Do I Choose a Forex Broker UK?

Choosing the best forex broker in the UK is crucial for ensuring a safe and successful trading experience.

Along with the key rating criteria I used to rank the brokers, here’s what to look for:

1. Regulatory Compliance:

  • Ensure the broker is regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Regulation guarantees the broker adheres to strict standards, protecting traders’ rights and funds.

2. Trading Platforms and Technology:

  • Evaluate the trading platforms offered. Popular platforms include MetaTrader 4 (MT4), MetaTrader 5 (MT5), and cTrader.
  • Check for user-friendly interfaces, technical and charting tools, mobile trading options, and overall stability.

3. Trade Execution and Spreads:

  • Look for brokers that offer fast and reliable trade execution. Delays can result in missed opportunities or losses.
  • Consider the spreads (the difference between the buy and sell prices). Lower spreads can lead to lower trading costs, but ensure it’s not at the expense of other essential services.

4. Leverage and Margin:

  • Assess the leverage options provided. While higher leverage can amplify profits, it can also magnify losses.
  • Understand the margin requirements and ensure they align with your trading strategy and risk tolerance.

5. Account Types and Fees:

  • Examine the different account types offered (e.g., standard, mini, premium).
  • Understand the fee structure, including spreads, commissions, and any hidden charges.
  • Check for minimum deposit requirements and how easy it is to withdraw funds.

6. Range of Trading Instruments:

  • Ensure the broker offers a wide range of currency pairs, including majors, minors, and exotics.
  • Look into other trading instruments they might offer, like commodities, indices, or stocks.

7. Customer Service:

  • Prioritise brokers with a reputation for excellent customer support.
  • Test their responsiveness via live chat, phone, or email. Ensure they offer support in your preferred language and during the hours you’ll be trading.

8. Educational Resources and Research Tools:

  • For beginners, brokers that provide educational resources (webinars, e-books, courses) can be beneficial.
  • Check if they offer research tools, market analysis, and news to keep you informed.

9. Demo Accounts:

  • Opt for brokers that offer demo accounts. These allow you to practice trading with virtual money and get accustomed to the platform without risking real funds.

10. Reputation and Reviews:

  • Read online reviews and testimonials. While no broker will be without criticism, recurring complaints might be a red flag.
  • Check for any past regulatory infractions or issues.

11. Additional Features:

  • Explore other features like automated trading, social trading, or copy trading if they align with your interests.

12. Security:

  • Ensure the broker employs top-notch security measures, including data encryption, to protect your personal and financial information.

Always take time to research, test out platforms with demo accounts, and never be afraid to ask questions before committing your funds.

What Is Forex Trading?

Forex trading, commonly known as foreign exchange trading or currency trading, refers to the act of buying and selling currencies on the foreign exchange market to make a profit.

The forex market is the largest financial market in the world, with a daily trading volume exceeding $6 trillion.

It operates 24 hours a day, five days a week, facilitating currency trading across different time zones. At its core, forex trading is about exchanging one currency for another, expecting the price will change in one’s favor.

The price movements are usually influenced by various factors such as economic indicators, interest rates, political stability, and overall global economic conditions4. Traders utilise both fundamental and technical analysis to predict potential price movements and make informed trading decisions.

While forex trading offers significant profit potential, it also comes with considerable risk, necessitating a thorough understanding of the market and a strategic approach.

Why Trade Forex?

Here are some reasons why you may want to trade forex.

Hedging: In the forex market, hedging refers to a strategy used by businesses and traders to protect themselves from adverse currency movements. For example, an American company that anticipates receiving payments in euros might be concerned about the euro strengthening against the dollar in the future.

To protect against this potential financial impact, the company can “hedge” by entering into a forex contract that locks in the current EUR/USD exchange rate. Thus, even if the euro strengthens in the actual market, the company is insulated from that movement due to its hedging strategy.

In essence, hedging acts as a form of insurance against unfavorable currency fluctuations.

See also:What Is Hedging in Forex?

Speculation: Unlike businesses that hedge to protect themselves from currency risk, speculators enter the forex market aiming to profit from those very fluctuations in currency values.

Speculators might analyse economic data, political events, and other macro-level information to predict how currencies will move against one another5. If a speculator believes, for instance, that the British pound will strengthen against the U.S. dollar, they might buy GBP/USD.

If their prediction is correct, they can then sell their position for a profit. While speculation can be profitable, it’s also risky, as predictions about future currency values can be incorrect.

Diversification: Diversification is a risk management strategy where traders spread their investments across various financial instruments, market sectors, or geographic regions to reduce exposure to any single asset or risk.

In the context of forex, diversification might involve trading multiple currency pairs or combining forex trading with other asset classes like stocks or commodities.

By diversifying, traders aim to reduce the impact that adverse movements in any single currency or market might have on their overall portfolio. For instance, while one currency pair might be experiencing a downturn, another might be on an upswing, balancing out potential losses.

How to Trade Forex

Trading forex involves a series of steps that require a combination of technical knowledge, market analysis, and a clear understanding of one’s risk tolerance.

Here’s a brief step-by-step guide on how to trade forex:

  1. Educate Yourself: Before diving into forex trading, it’s crucial to educate yourself about the market, the different currency pairs, and the factors that influence currency movements. There are many online courses, webinars, and books available on the subject.
  2. Choose a Reliable Forex Broker: Find a broker that is regulated by a recognised financial authority. The broker should offer a trading platform you’re comfortable with, competitive spreads, and strong customer support.
  3. Open a Trading Account: After selecting a broker, you’ll need to open a trading account. This typically involves providing some personal information, verifying your identity, and making an initial deposit.
  4. Select a Trading Platform: Most brokers offer platforms like MetaTrader 4 (MT4) or MetaTrader 5 (MT5). These platforms provide tools for analysing price movements, executing trades, and managing your portfolio.
  5. Start with a Demo Account: Before trading with real money, practice with a demo account. This allows you to familiarise yourself with the trading platform and test your trading strategies without financial risk.
  6. Analyse the Market:
    • Fundamental Analysis: Examine macroeconomic data, news events, and other factors that could influence currency values. This includes interest rates, political stability, economic performance, etc.
    • Technical Analysis: Use charts, indicators, and patterns to predict future price movements based on past market data.
  7. Determine Your Risk Tolerance: Decide in advance how much you’re willing to risk on each trade. Set stop-loss orders to automatically close out trades at a predetermined price level to limit potential losses.
  8. Execute Your First Trade:
    • Select a Currency Pair: Such as EUR/USD, GBP/JPY, or USD/CAD.
    • Decide on Trade Size: The number of units or lots you wish to trade.
    • Set Your Order Type: Market order (buy/sell immediately) or pending order (buy/sell when a certain price is reached).
    • Place Stop-Loss and Take-Profit Orders: These orders automatically close your position when the price reaches a specific level, either to lock in profits or limit losses.
  9. Monitor and Manage Your Trades: Keep an eye on your trades and adjust your strategy based on market conditions. Use tools and indicators to help predict where prices might be headed.
  10. Continue Learning: The forex market is dynamic, and strategies may need to be adjusted over time. Stay updated with market news, learn from your trading experiences, and continuously refine your trading approach.
  11. Withdraw Profits and Review Strategy: Periodically, you might want to withdraw profits from your trading account. Also, review your trading strategy regularly to ensure it remains effective in current market conditions.
  12. Stay Informed: The global economic landscape, geopolitical events, and central bank decisions can all impact the forex market. Stay informed about global events and economic announcements to anticipate potential market shifts.

For a more comprehensive guide, you can read my article ‘How to trade forex UK‘.

Commonly Asked Questions About Forex Trading

Here I’ll do my best to answer some of the most common questions I receive regarding trading forex.

What Factors Cause the Forex Rates to Change?

The Foreign Exchange (FX) market, which revolves around the trading of currencies, is influenced by a complex web of factors that cause prices to fluctuate.

Economic Indicators: Central to understanding these movements are economic indicators. Data like unemployment rates, inflation figures, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and manufacturing output can significantly impact a country’s currency value. Generally, strong economic performance strengthens a nation’s currency as it might lead to higher interest rates, which can attract foreign capital and investment. Conversely, weak economic data can devalue a currency.

Monetary Policy: Central banks play a pivotal role in the FX market through their monetary policies. Interest rate decisions, for example, can sway currency values significantly6. Higher interest rates tend to attract foreign capital looking for the best return on their investments, thus boosting the currency’s value. Conversely, lower interest rates can deter investment, leading to a decline in the currency’s value.

Political Stability: The political landscape of a country or region can also influence currency values. Stable governments and political situations are often seen as favorable for foreign investors, and this can bolster a currency. On the other hand, political unrest, governmental instability, or geopolitical tensions can deter investment and lead to a decrease in a currency’s value.

Market Sentiment: Traders’ perceptions and speculative actions can drive short-term movements in currency values. If traders believe that a particular currency will strengthen in the future, they’ll buy more of it now. This collective action can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, at least in the short term.

Global Events: Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and major global events can create uncertainty and may influence currency value. These events can affect economic performance and investor confidence, leading to significant market shifts.

Differentials in Economic Growth: Economic growth in one country compared to another can influence the strength and stability of each country’s currency. A country showing robust economic growth will be more attractive to foreign investors. When they invest, they’ll need to convert their home currency to the currency of the growing country, leading to increased demand and appreciation of that currency.

In essence, the FX market operates within a dynamic ecosystem where economic, political, and psychological factors interplay to dictate currency values. Understanding these influences is crucial for traders aiming to predict and profit from future price movements.

Why Is Forex Trading So Popular?

Forex trading has surged in popularity due to several distinctive advantages it offers over traditional stock markets.

  • The forex market is open 24 hours a day, five days a week, catering to traders across different time zones and allowing continuous trading, unlike stock markets with set opening and closing times.
  • The forex market’s immense liquidity, with daily trading volumes surpassing $7 trillion, ensures that large trades can be executed without significant price deviations.
  • The ability to leverage positions means traders can control large positions with a relatively small amount of capital, potentially magnifying profits (though it also increases risk). See also:What is Leverage in Forex?
  • The vast array of available currency pairs means traders can capitalise on global events and diversify their portfolios.
  • The straightforward nature of forex—essentially betting on one currency’s strength or weakness against another—combined with advanced trading platforms and educational resources, makes it accessible for both novice and experienced traders.

Is Forex Trading Legal in the UK?

Forex trading is legal in the UK. The forex market is one of the most regulated markets globally, and in the UK, it’s overseen by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Any forex brokers operating in the UK must be registered with the FCA, ensuring that they adhere to stringent regulatory standards designed to protect traders. This includes ensuring transparency, adhering to fair trading practices, and maintaining adequate capital reserves.

Moreover, UK-based forex brokers typically offer additional protection to traders through schemes like the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which can compensate traders if a broker becomes insolvent.

While forex trading is legal and regulated, potential traders should still conduct thorough research and possibly seek advice from financial professionals before diving into the market, given its inherent risks.

What Are the Forex Market Opening Times?

The forex market operates 24 hours a day, five days a week, due to its decentralised nature and the global span of its major trading sessions.

These sessions overlap, ensuring there is almost always a market open somewhere in the world at any given time during the weekdays.

Here’s a breakdown of the major forex market opening times:

  1. Sydney Session (Australian Session)
    • Opens: 10:00 PM GMT (summer) / 9:00 PM GMT (winter)
    • Closes: 7:00 AM GMT (summer) / 6:00 AM GMT (winter)
  2. Tokyo Session (Asian Session)
    • Opens: 12:00 AM GMT (summer) / 11:00 PM GMT (winter)
    • Closes: 9:00 AM GMT (summer) / 8:00 AM GMT (winter)
  3. London Session (European Session)
    • Opens: 8:00 AM GMT (summer) / 7:00 AM GMT (winter)
    • Closes: 4:00 PM GMT (summer) / 5:00 PM GMT (winter)
  4. New York Session (North American Session)
    • Opens: 1:00 PM GMT (summer) / 12:00 PM GMT (winter)
    • Closes: 10:00 PM GMT (summer) / 9:00 PM GMT (winter)

Overlapping Times:

  • London and Tokyo: 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM GMT (summer) / 7:00 AM – 8:00 AM GMT (winter)
  • London and New York: 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM GMT (summer) / 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM GMT (winter)

Note that the exact timings can slightly vary due to factors like Daylight Saving Time adjustments in different countries.

The overlaps, especially between London and New York, represent the most active periods with higher volumes and liquidity, making them attractive times for traders.

What Are the Different Types of Currency Traders?

Currency traders, based on their forex trading strategies and the duration for which they hold onto their positions, can be broadly classified into the following categories:

  1. Scalper:
    • Description: Scalpers are traders who aim to make quick, small profits by capitalising on the minute price movements in currency pairs. This form of trading requires a keen sense of the market and fast decision-making.
    • Trade Duration: Trades are held for a very short duration, typically just a few seconds to a few minutes.
    • Objective: Capture tiny price fluctuations multiple times within a trading session.
  2. Day Trader:
    • Description: Day traders initiate and close their positions within a single trading day, ensuring no open positions are left at the end of the trading session. This strategy is designed to capitalise on intraday price movements and avoids overnight risks.
    • Trade Duration: Trades are held for several minutes to several hours but always closed by the end of the day.
    • Objective: Profit from short-term price movements and volatility during the trading day.
  3. Swing Trader:
    • Description: Swing traders look to capture price “swings” or moves over several days to weeks. They try to capitalise on the momentum in the market, either on the upside or downside.
    • Trade Duration: Trades are held from several days to several weeks.
    • Objective: Benefit from short to medium-term price movements and trends.
  4. Position Trader:
    • Description: Position traders are more like long-term investors in the forex market. They base their trades on long-term trends and economic fundamentals, and they are less concerned with short-term price fluctuations.
    • Trade Duration: Trades can be held from several weeks to several months, and sometimes even longer.
    • Objective: Profit from long-term trends and larger price movements by taking a more macro view of the market.

Different trading types need unique skills, risk strategies, and mindsets. An individual’s pick depends on their preference, time, and risk tolerance.

Do You Pay Tax on Forex Trading in the UK?

In the UK, forex trading can be structured in different ways, and the tax implications depend on the structure you choose:

  1. Spread Betting:
    • If you’re trading forex through spread betting, any profits you make are completely tax-free in the UK. This is because spread betting is considered gambling under UK law, and thus winnings from it are not subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT).
    • It’s important to note, however, that if you’re spread betting full-time and it’s your primary source of income, the tax situation may be different. In such cases, you might be considered a professional gambler, and the tax implications could differ. It’s always recommended to consult with a tax professional to understand your specific situation.
  2. Contracts for Difference (CFDs):
    • If you’re trading forex through CFDs, then any profits you make are subject to Capital Gains Tax. However, you can offset your CFD losses against future profits for tax purposes.
    • Forex CFD trading is also subject to Stamp Duty Reserve Tax (SDRT). However, since currencies are not considered “stocks or shares,” you’re typically not liable to pay SDRT on forex CFDs.
  3. Traditional Forex Accounts:
    • If you’re trading forex through a traditional brokerage account, then your profits will be subject to Capital Gains Tax.

It’s also essential to consider the implications of Income Tax. If trading is your primary source of income, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) might consider you to be a forex trader by profession, which could have different tax implications.

Tax laws are tricky and can change. If you trade forex or handle finances, speak with a UK tax expert to stay compliant.

Is Forex Trading Really Worth It?

The question of whether forex trading is “worth it” depends on various factors including an individual’s financial goals, risk tolerance, trading knowledge, strategy, and commitment.

Here’s a breakdown to help understand the complexities:

  1. Potential for Profit: Forex trading, due to its high liquidity and significant leverage, offers the potential for substantial profits. Successful traders have made significant gains in this market.
  2. Learning Curve: It’s essential to understand that the forex market has a steep learning curve. Proper education, continuous learning, and practice are paramount. Many traders start by using demo accounts to hone their strategies without risking real money.
  3. Risk: The forex market is volatile, and while this can lead to substantial profits, it can also result in significant losses. The use of leverage can amplify both profits and losses. It’s crucial for traders to have sound risk management strategies in place and only invest money they can afford to lose.
  4. Costs: There are costs associated with forex trading, including spreads, commissions, and overnight swap rates. These need to be factored into any trading strategy to ensure profitability.
  5. Time Commitment: Successful trading can require a significant time commitment, both in terms of research and monitoring the markets. Some trading styles, like scalping, might demand constant attention, while others, like position trading, might be more hands-off.
  6. Emotional Challenges: Forex trading can be emotionally taxing. The stress of potential losses, the pressure of making quick decisions, and the challenges of maintaining discipline can be difficult for some traders to handle.
  7. Regulatory Environment: In many countries, forex trading is heavily regulated to protect retail investors. Ensuring that you’re trading with a reputable and regulated broker can safeguard your investment to some extent.
  8. Alternative Investment Options: Before diving into forex trading, one should consider other investment opportunities and decide which is best aligned with their financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon.

Forex trading can be worth it for individuals who are well-prepared, informed, and disciplined. It’s not a guaranteed way to make money, and like all investments, it carries risks.

Final Thoughts

To wrap things up, selecting the best forex broker in the UK requires a careful evaluation of various factors including spreads, platform usability, customer support, and regulatory protection.

With numerous brokers vying for your attention, it’s vital to prioritise your specific needs and trading goals.

The UK has top brokers for both new and expert traders. Beginners can find great learning resources, while experts get advanced tools.


What is the best forex trading platform in the UK?

The best forex trading platform in the UK often depends on individual preferences, trading needs, and experience levels. However, MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) are among the most popular and widely-used platforms, favoured for their user-friendly interfaces, advanced charting tools, and algorithmic trading capabilities. Additionally, cTrader is also well-regarded for its intuitive design and depth of features.

What is the best forex broker UK for beginners?

For beginners in the UK, IG and eToro are top forex brokers. Both platforms offer user-friendly interfaces and educational resources. New traders often find these brokers helpful for starting their forex journey.

Why do most forex traders lose money?

Most forex traders lose money due to a lack of knowledge, poor risk management, emotional trading decisions, and overleveraging their accounts. It’s a highly volatile market that requires discipline and a well-thought-out strategy.

Are forex brokers reliable?

Forex brokers can be reliable, but it’s essential to choose well-regulated ones with a good reputation. Always research and select brokers overseen by reputable regulatory bodies to ensure safety and transparency.

What is the difference between CFDs and forex?

CFDs (Contract for Difference) allow traders to speculate on price changes of various assets, including stocks, commodities, and indices. Forex trading, on the other hand, focuses exclusively on currency pairs. Essentially, while both involve speculation, CFDs cover a broader range of markets, whereas forex is currency-specific.

Is forex trading good for beginners?

Forex trading can be complex and carries a high risk of loss. While beginners can learn and profit, it’s essential they start with proper education, a demo account, and use risk management strategies. It’s not for everyone, but with diligence, beginners can navigate it.

How much do you need to start forex trading in the UK?

In the UK, most brokers offer accounts with a minimum deposit ranging from £10 to £250. However, starting with a larger amount can offer more flexibility in trades and risk management. Always trade with what you can afford to lose.

Can I learn forex trading on my own?

Yes, you can learn forex trading on your own through online resources, tutorials, and demo accounts. However, practical experience and continuous learning are essential for success.

Is it safe to trade forex in the UK?

Yes, forex trading in the UK is safe when using FCA-regulated brokers. However, as with all investments, there’s an inherent risk, so it’s essential to do thorough research and only invest what you can afford to lose.

Is MetaTrader legal in the UK?

Yes, MetaTrader is legal in the UK and is commonly used by many FCA-regulated forex brokers.

Can you make a living trading forex UK?

Yes, it is possible to make a living trading forex in the UK, but it’s challenging and carries a high level of risk. Success requires a deep understanding of the forex markets, a solid trading plan, and strict risk management. Due to the highly leveraged nature of forex trading, both profits and losses can be magnified, so it’s crucial to trade carefully and responsibly.

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I’m Will! I recently left my job working for one of the UK’s leading financial companies in London to start Sterling Savvy, a place to empower people in the UK financially.

With my experience working with some of the biggest financial services companies in the world and my education in Economics & Finance, I want to help you be more savvy with your money.

You can read more about my mission here.

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