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Choosing the Right Forex Broker

If you've already made the decision to go ahead and start trading forex, the first step you need to take is to choose the right forex broker. Currency brokers vary more than the U.S. Investment houses, so you really need to do your homework before making a decision. This is very important because your broker is almost like your business partner. They need to not only treat you fairly, but also execute when called upon. Here are some of the most important aspects to consider when picking your broker:

Low Spreads. Always look for a broker that offers low spreads (which are measured in pips). The spread is the difference between how much you can buy or sell a currency at a specific point in time. It's very similar to the bid and ask prices in the stock market. Since you don't pay a commission to a forex broker, they make their income through the spread. You don't get anything in return for paying the spread, so you'll save money on each trade if you pick a broker with low spreads.

Amount of Leverage Offered. Leverage is essential to making big money in forex. When you're making a profitable trade, the amount of "increase" in what you're holding amounts to just fractions of a penny per unit. So if you're not investing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, your total gain is minimal. To make a stock market comparison, assume that you buy $5,000 worth of a stock for $20. A few hours pass, and you sell it for $20 1/8. Total gain? A barely noticeable $31.25. Now lets say you were able to borrow your brokers money, and buy $500,000 worth of the same stock. Your gain would now be $3,125, which is much more substantial. An equity broker would never give you that much margin, but you can find some forex brokers who will offer as much as 100:1, which means that you can borrow up to 100 times the amount of your own capital invested. Obviously, this can be risky because you can lose money as well. Do your homework on how margin and margin calls work before using it, but understand that it is the fastest way to big money.

Reputation of the Firm. All forex brokers

should be registered with the Futures Commission Merchant and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. You should verify that your potential forex broker is in fact registered before giving them any money. Also, because of the massive amount of capital required in the foreign currency market, brokers are usually owned or operated by large banking institutions. Verify their financial stability to ensure the safety of your investments.

Account Types Available. Small investors should look for brokers that offer mini accounts. A mini account usually offers a high amount of leverage (otherwise it would take decades of successful trading to grow $300 into anything significant). Every broker should have standard accounts which need $2000 to start the account with and offers more leverage options. The third type of account is a premium account, which will offer access to more powerful tools, services, and research. The amount of capital needed for a premium account will vary based on institution.

Quality of Tools and Research. Just as in online stock trading accounts, the quality and availability of tools and research will vary greatly between brokers. Most will have real time charts, news, & data, along with technical analysis tools. Some will have expert analysts writing articles and reports. You can look these analysts up on Google to see how credible they are. Also look for technical trading tools, economic indicators, and good customer support. I suggest starting a demo account at several brokers to get a feel for their platforms and see what type of system is most comfortable to you.

Choosing a forex broker is a very important decision, so take your time and do your due diligence. If you end up with a good one, you'll have everything you need to succeed and will be able to focus solely on trading the forex.

About the author:

This article is just a small piece of the free Forex Trading Course at forexgameplan.com. Go learn about this incredible market and sign up today while the 30 day course is still free.
 
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Risk Disclosure: Trading foreign exchange on margin carries a high level of risk, and may not be suitable for all investors. The high degree of leverage can work against you as well as for you. Before deciding to invest / trade in foreign exchange you should carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite. The possibility exists that you could sustain a loss of some or all of your initial investment and therefore you should not invest money that you cannot afford to lose. You should be aware of all the risks associated with foreign exchange trading.

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