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
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
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:
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