US Forex Brokers
Forex and CFD brokers are financial firms that link individuals, companies, and fund managers to the interbank forex market. This is done over the internet via computer software known as trading platforms. The US market has a small number of licensed brokers compared to Europe and other parts of the world. But, US traders are still faced with the problem of broker choice because no two traders offer the same services and trading conditions. There are several factors to consider before choosing a broker in the US. We will examine some of them in this review.
Regulation and Safety
Most online forex brokers do not accept clients from the United States. This is because of the stringent requirements imposed by the regulatory authorities in the USA. For a broker to operate in the US, the brand must be registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Membership of the National Futures Association (NFA) is also required. A capital base of $20 million is one of the conditions specified by the NFA. With this huge capital requirement and leverage restriction, most brokers conclude that the US market is unprofitable.
There are a few unregulated offshore brokers who accept US clients. It is important to note that dealing with these brokers is at your own risk. It is always safer to trade with a regulated broker.
Available Trading Instruments on Pepperstone
The most popular assets offered by US brokers are currency pairs, commodities, and indices. A few others offer Cryptocurrencies and bonds also. The currency pairs range from Major, minor, and exotic pairs.
Account Types and Trading conditions
All US brokers allow clients to create accounts on their websites. Personal details and social security number are required. The social security number is required for tax purposes. Most US brokers offer their clients different accounts based on trader experience, capital, and trading volume. Generally, the accounts are classified as follows:
- Demo Account: This is a risk-free account primarily created for practice purposes.
- Cent Account: This account is denominated in cents, and it is targeted at beginners who wish to experiment real live trading. The lot size is normally 1000.
- Standard Account: This is the most popular trader account with regular features. The standard lot size is 100,000. The minimum account opening balance varies from broker to broker, but the average is around $200.
VIP Accounts: These accounts are the premium accounts exclusively designed for professional traders.
Some brokers also offer joint or business accounts.
Most US brokers charge from the spread. Majority of the brokers offer floating spreads which vary with market liquidity. Some brokers also charge commissions on every trade. All US brokers offer a maximum leverage of 1:50. This complies with the regulatory restrictions.
Deposit and Withdrawal Options
Here are the major payment options used by US brokers:
These are very popular means of payment in the United States. Card deposits are instantly processed.
These are payments made through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network. It is the electronic transfer of funds from one bank account to another. It takes 1-3 days to complete.
This is the transfer of funds between banks. It takes 1-2 days for local transfers.
This is a global e-wallet payment solution that originated in the United States. Though very popular in the US, only a few brokers accept this method of payment.
Web, desktop and mobile trading platforms
Two types of platforms are mostly provided by US brokers:
Some US brokers have their platform developed for their clients for forex/CFD trading. Most of these proprietary platforms are web-based. This means that it can be accessed using a web browser. All the proprietary platforms come with the basic features including charts, live quotes, order and risk management tools, etc.
Third-Party trading platforms:
The most common third party platform among US brokers is the MT4 and MT5 platforms. These platforms are widely used in the forex market because of their versatility, scalability, speed, and inbuilt tools. The MT4 and MT5 are available as WebTrader, mobile apps, and Windows desktop applications.
Most US brokers have customer support desks that work 24 hours, five days a week. The most common support channels are phone calls, email, and live chat. Some brokers’ support might be reached via fax.
Research and Education
US brokers provide research contents to assist their clients. Some of the brokers provide market news, economic calendar, blogs, and some other tools.
Most brokers offer free trader educational materials on their websites. The training resources are in the form of video lessons, articles, and webinars.
Bonus and Promotions
Most US brokers do not offer bonuses or promotions to their clients. But if you are a large volume trader, some brokers will offer rebates in appreciation for your patronage.
US brokers operate under a strictly regulated environment. They offer various trading instruments, mainly in the asset classes of forex, indices, commodities, etc. Most of the brokers include their charges into the spread while a few charge commissions.
ACH, Credit cards, and bank transfers are the most popular payment methods. The MetaTrader platforms are mostly used, though some brokers also have their platforms. All brokers have customer support assistants who are available to assist clients when they run into difficulties. Most US brokers provide education and Research contents. It is advised that you do thorough research before settling for a US broker.