The best Forex trading apps will be dependent on you and how you interact with them. Below, we investigate some of the critical criteria you need to consider when looking at a trading app and how they fit your needs and requirements.
First, however, you must know what Forex trading is and what types are out there. Fully comprehending these concepts will help inform your final decision on the best Forex trading app for you.
What is forex trading?
Forex stands for foreign exchange market, but you may sometimes hear it referred to as FX trading. Forex trading is the practice of buying, holding and selling currencies. There are two common strategies that Forex traders employ when trading currency. They are:
Buying and selling currencies when they are over or undervalued
This is perhaps the most common Forex trading strategy. It would mean that you identify a currency that you think is either undervalued or overvalued by the rest of the currency market. If it is too cheap, you will try to buy some of it to hold on to it. Then, when it hits a valuation that you think is fair, you would sell it, making money as it has risen in value.
The opposite is the case when a currency is overvalued. If you think something is overpriced, you try to sell it. That, of course, is difficult if you do not own the asset or the currency in the first place. As a result, you can short it, which is the practice of selling an investment you do not own, and then repurchasing it at a later date when the price has fallen. The money you make is the difference in the price you sold it at and then bought later to settle your trade to close out the position.
Making returns through arbitrage
As there are so many different types of currency in the world, arbitrage can be possible. Arbitrage is when the same asset, in this case, a currency, is worth different amounts in different currencies. That difference is where investors, and you, can make returns. So, for example, you can buy the atypically valued asset in one currency that has valued it cheaper and then sell it for the other. To make the return, you then exchange the final currency into your original one. If you timed the exchange correctly, you would have made a profit.
If you're still struggling to get your head around Forex trading, let's use an example. This example is purely hypothetical and does not use current exchange rates. It is purely using simple maths for illustrative purposes.
Say that 10 US dollars are worth 7 UK Pounds. Let's also say that 10 US dollars are worth 6 Euros. But that 1 UK Pound is worth 1 Euro.
You would buy the 10 US dollars for 6 Euros (the equivalent of buying 10 US dollars for 6 UK Pounds). You would then exchange the 10 US Dollars you purchased for 7 UK pounds. You have therefore made £1.
The problem with arbitrage is that it is an infrequent possibility. That's not to say it does not happen, just that you have an incredible amount of competitors looking for the same arbitrage loopholes as you. The fact is that the Forex market is enormous and exceptionally quick moving with an uncountable amount of market makers. It means the market is very efficient and eradicates instances of arbitrage almost immediately.
Types of Forex market
In addition to the two strategies you can employ to make returns on the Forex market, there are also different types of Forex markets you can trade within. You will therefore often see these investment terms when dealing with the Forex market:
The spot market is one that you are likely to have partaken in if you have ever bought currency to go on holiday. You buy the actual currency there and then. According to the current price or rate, the currency's price is purchased by you and sold by the foreign exchange. That rate is known as the spot price.
The futures market is the act of buying and selling contracts on exchanges for currency according to set sizes and where settlement dates have already been decided.
The forwards market is similar to the futures market. However, it is done on a private basis instead of a public one. The result is that contracts between two parties are far more customised, and the terms and conditions set out within them are arranged by the parties involved. For that reason, they cannot be bought or sold on a public exchange where contracts are standardised.
How to choose a Forex broker platform
Choosing the best Forex broker platform for you is not dissimilar to choosing the best stock trading apps. Try not to get too bogged down in the software complexities that looking at MetaTrader 4 or MetaTrader 5 may encourage. Instead, try to bear in mind the following ideas when selecting a Forex trading app.
All platforms charge their fees in a slightly different way. Even ones that claim they are commission-free or do not add any fees for withdrawals or transactions. Trading apps are not developed for the sheer fun of it. They are there to help make their creators money.
As a result, you will incur fees somewhere when trading Forex. But, of course, you will want to minimise those fees, so some trading apps may suit your trading style better than others to keep expenses low.
Check currency pairs
There are countless numbers of currency pairs hypothetically available out there, yet not all trading apps will allow you to trade all those pairs. For example, say you wanted to sell some Australian dollars for Filipino pesos. You may struggle to find a trading app that does that as an 'off the shelf' option as it will not be a particularly liquid market.
While this may be an extreme example, you need to check that if you had any particular pairings in mind, they are available on your potential Forex trading app.
Check trade sizes
Different Forex trading apps allow users to trade various sized trades. Be sure to check that your potential app or broker can trade in the size that you require. It could be that you love a trading app's interface and its fee structure is highly competitive, but yet they only allow trades up to a specific size - which you would ideally want to be higher.
Or you may have a low trading limit that precludes you from using some companies. Some companies will demand an initial minimum deposit amount, too. Ensure you can meet that total, as some may be so high that you cannot use them.
Check extra features
Finally, all apps will offer a different range of extras. Be that a comprehensive research library, the ability to trade several types of asset class or a highly sophisticated analytical tool. While you may have been looking at potential brokers' fees to determine how to keep your costs as low as possible, ensure that you are not gaining value from elsewhere for those slightly higher fees.
Or, conversely, that you are paying higher fees for features that you never use. Many investors like extra features like analysis tools like advanced charting, technical indicators and educational resources, or even drawing tools. But do you use them? Finally, you may want an app that offers notifications that alert you to crucial price movements.
Check customer support
Even the best Forex apps may leave you needing help sometimes. Having a robust customer support team in place is vital for any online brokerage. While that may not be an issue for professional traders, those with retail investor accounts may want to contact their broker about all manner of things. For example, you may not understand some trading features within your standard accounts, or you may want to be walked through other elements of your mobile trading app.
Yet, some online brokers do not have a comprehensive customer service team in place and only have a basic FAQ page. The best Forex trading platforms will have an easily contactable help desk.
Check the range of financial instruments
While you may typically look at the amount of Forex pairs a potential Forex broker has before you sign up to use their software, it also pays to look at what financial markets they support. The reason being is that you may want to start trading in other assets too.
In fact, that is incredibly likely as very few people will invest all their capital in Forex alone. As a result, take a look at what your potential broker offers. Do they allow you to invest in any bonds or commodities? Does the app support trading CFDs, crypto or stocks too?
Top 5 Forex brokers
The following Forex brokers are considered highly reputable and provide customers with a platform that enables efficient and effective FX trading. As all reputable trading platforms should be, the below Forex brokers are all regulated by the FCA.
IG is a good option for you if you want to manage a broader portfolio of more than just Forex. Customers can trade indices, cryptocurrency and commodities in addition to the more traditional shares, bonds and ETFs.
Its Forex offering is comprehensive and would give individuals looking to trade typical currency pairs (EUR/USD, GBP/USD) a slick means of doing so. The company also provides excellent customer service. Signing up for an account with them is quick and easy, and the company offers some of the best real-time data around.
AvaTrade offers 0% commission which is undoubtedly one of its biggest attractions. However, it also provides customers with the ability for social trading, which allows them to copy trading positions on other accounts.
Helpfully, you can also trade stocks and commodities on this platform, which has one of the most intuitive interfaces out there. It offers customers the chance to trade via desktop, tablet, mobile or web - where the company provides MetaTrader 5 or MetaTrader 4 options in addition to AvaTradeGo.
Users usually sign up for Naga's platform for a couple of reasons. Firstly, like AvaTrade, you can copy other traders' buys and sells. But, secondly, it has an incredibly easy to use app that is fantastic for managing a portfolio on the go with your mobile. Also, its educational library is excellent.
Plus, it has some useful tools like the trading calculator that can help both novices and experienced traders alike. The company also has some great video tutorials that can help beginners get their heads around more complex concepts that are common in Forex trading.
Pepperstone is a good platform if you want to trade Forex in addition to Cryptocurrencies, commodities or CFDs. Its FX trading costs are pretty competitive as it charges no account fees. Importantly, Pepperstone provides fast execution times to consistently make trades when you want - which is imperative in the FX market.
When coupled with the fact that it offers such a wide range of instruments and has a big enough client base to provide deep liquidity, Pepperstone is worth looking into, if only for its demo trading account.
eToro has been making waves in the trading industry as it was one of the first social trading platforms out there. Like other social trading apps, eToro makes it possible to copy every stop/loss position or any other trade that a fellow user has placed, with the hope of mimicking any high returns they see.
Yet, not everything it does is to disrupt the investing app market. It does the basics well, too. Opening an account, for example, is swift and painless. Currently, it offers the ability to trade almost 50 currency pairs. eToro is regulated by CySec too (Cyprus's financial regulatory body) in addition to the FCA.
The best Forex brokers and apps
Trading Forex is seen to be one of the more complicated and higher risk ways of making returns in your portfolio - a bit like cryptocurrency. However, if you are confident in what you are doing, it can also be a great way to make money quickly. Using one of the best trading apps out there for Forex is essential to help support you. Currency exchange is a never-closing, lightning-quick market, so you really will need all the help you can get.
Remember, however, that trading Forex should be approached in the same way that considering any investment should be done. You need to be sure that any potential investment is appropriate for your risk profile and your investment time frames. If you are approaching retirement, Forex trading can offer you the potential for quick and high returns if done well. If not, it can mean that you are at risk of losing a lot of money, just at a point in time when you are likely to need to preserve capital.
Any investment should only ever be to the amount you can afford to lose without affecting your level of lifestyle. Your investments need to be made with your particular circumstances and needs in mind. Even if you think you are copying a highly skilled trader on one of the above Forex apps, that trader will be placing trades in accordance to their own requirements which are likely to be very different to your own. As a result, some of their trades might be highly unsuitable for you and your portfolio.
Finally, some apps offer the ability to maximise your returns through leverage, CFDs and other derivatives. Again, deciding to use such tools should be done with caution and care. You need to be sure that how you are using them is appropriate for your situation. If you are nearing retirement, your ability to recoup losses should you sustain them is much diminished. As a result, any trades - Forex or otherwise - need to be made with the idea of keeping the value of your savings and minimising the risk of loss as low as possible.