Forex Trading

Compare forex trading brokers then choose your preferred trading platform here with Savvy

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, updated on September 13th, 2023       

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Compare and find the best forex trading platforms

Forex trading can be an exciting and fun way to earn an additional income, and many Aussies are now trying their hand at trading online. However, there’s lots to learn before you start trading forex online, and it can be a very risky business. 

Savvy can help you find the best online FX broker to get you started trading forex like a pro. Compare minimum deposits, spreads and commissions and find out all you need to know about online forex trading before choosing a broker which best suits your trading needs. Start your trading journey here with Savvy today!

site-logos AvaTrade

Minimum opening deposit

Minimum spreads for major currencies


Minimum trade size



$100 AUD/USD 2.2 pips or EUR/USD 1.5 pips $0 0.01 lots MetaTrader4, AvaTradeAct web trading, AvaOptions, AvaTradeGO, Automated Trading 30:1

AVA Trade provides comprehensive online forex broking services across more than six global regions, offering exceptional educational content making it highly suitable for novice traders.

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site-logos Vantage

Minimum opening deposit

Minimum spreads for major currencies


Minimum trade size



$200 0.0 pips - 1.0 pips $0 0.01 lots MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, TradingView 1:1 - 30:1

Vantage is a highly competitively-priced online broker offering traders the opportunity to trade a wide variety of currency pairs and CFDs.

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site-logos eToro

Minimum opening deposit

Minimum spreads for major currencies


Minimum trade size



$200 1.0 pips $0 US$200 (to CopyTrade) eToro Trading Platform 1:1 - 30:1

eToro connects more than 13 million people through its popular social trading platform that allows novices to copy trade the forex moves of more experienced traders.

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site-logos IG Forex

Minimum opening deposit

Minimum spreads for major currencies


Minimum trade size



$250 0.1 - 2.8 pips $7 or 0.08% 0.01 lots IG Trading Platform and iOS and Android apps, MetaTrader 4, ProRealTime, L2 Dealer 30:1

IG is one of Australia’s largest CFD providers with over 320,000 active trading customers world-wide. It’s award-winning trading platform and low commission rates make it Australia’s #1 online CFD broker.

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Disclaimer: Savvy is not advising or recommending any particular product to you. We provide general information on products for the purposes of comparison, but your personal situation or goals are not considered here. Although we try to make our comparisons as thorough as possible, we do not have information on all products on the market on our site.

You should always consult a given offer’s PDS or further documentation in the process of deciding on which forex platform to choose, as well as seeking independent, professional advice. If you decide to apply with one of the platforms listed above via our website, you will not be dealing with Savvy; any applications or enquiries will be conducted directly with the platform offering that product.

Forex trading platforms

What is forex trading

Forex (short for foreign exchange) or FX trading involves buying one currency and exchanging it for another in order to make a profit. It takes advantage of the price movement in international exchanges to make a profit from buying and selling currencies.

FX trading is one of the most popular forms of trading in Australia, but it can be a risky, and you can end up losing a lot of money. It is also quite complex, and there’s lots to learn. Forex trading is harder to learn than trading straight shares, because it makes use of leverage, which is effectively borrowing money to trade with. The use of leverage magnifies both profits and losses, which is why it is a riskier form of trading than simply buying and selling shares.

How does forex trading work?

Each day foreign currencies go up and down on the international money markets in relation to one another. Forex trading involves investing in one pair of currencies, essentially betting that one will go up in value against the other. If you make a successful choice, you can profit from the change in value you’ve correctly predicted. However, if you get it wrong, you can also lose a lot of money.

Forex trading involves using an online trading platform to buy and sell currency in pairs, one value against the other. On the global markets, all currencies are quoted in pairs, for example AUD/USD. This refers to the value of the Australian dollar (AUD) against the US dollar (USD). All currencies in the world have a three-letter symbol which represents that one currency. Other common pairs include:

  • EUR/USD: Euro/US dollar
  • USD/JY: US dollar/Japanese yen
  • GBP/USD: British pound/US dollar
  • USD/CHF: US dollar/Swiss franc

How do you make money trading forex online?

FX trading involves initiating a forex trade (called ‘opening a position’) to buy one currency using another. The aim is to benefit from the price change between when you open your position and when you convert the currency back again, called ‘closing a position.’

At no time in FX trading do you actually ‘own’ the currency you ‘buy’ – rather you make a contract with your online broker to buy and sell it, and profit from a change in price between when the purchase and sale happen.

In legal terms, you are buying and selling a forex contract, not the actual currency itself. This is why FX trading is a form of derivative trading. A derivative is a security (a financial ‘product,’ like a contract) whose value is dependent on the value of the underlying asset (ie. the currency on which the contract is based.)

What costs should I expect when trading forex?

There are several costs to consider when FX trading. These include:

  • Commission fees – which are a fee charged by your broker for every trade you make. These fees are generally quite small, just a few cents per thousand dollars traded, but they can soon add up. Some brokers don’t charge a commission fee – rather they make their money by taking a small cut on the prices they offer for each currency, which is known as the ‘spread.’
  • Currency conversion charges – which is the cost to exchange one currency for another. This is often expressed as a percentage of the cost of the trade, which may range from 0.5% up to 2% or more.
  • Overnight holding fees – if you leave your position open overnight, you may be charged an overnight holding fee, sometimes called an overnight funding fee. This is because you’re effectively borrowing money from your broker to make the trade, and so you’re charged a form of interest for keeping that money overnight. The fee charged is based on the international ‘tom-next’ rate, which is an industry-standard rate used across the world.
  • Account inactivity fees – some brokers charge a fee (for example, $10 – $15) for account inactivity in any one month. This is to encourage customers to trade regularly and not let their trading account sit unused for long periods of time.
  • Administration fees – these can also be charged by some brokers to cover the cost of administering your trades.

How can I find the best forex broker?

The best forex broker for you will depend on what your FX trading needs are. For instance, are you a novice trader, and so want a broker which offers lots of online assistance and ‘how to’ help? Or, are you further along in your trading career, and are looking for a broker which offers the most extensive and sophisticated charting programs?

Consider all these other factors when making your choice between brokers:

  • Cost to trade – naturally you’ll want a broker that offers the lowest cost to trade, so compare all the different fees listed above
  • Tightest spreads – this refers to the little ‘extra’ a broker will place on the currency values in order for them to make money. This margin is known as the ‘spread’, and you want a broker with the tightest possible spreads, ie. as close to the actual market value as possible
  • Broad range of currency pairs – make sure the broker you choose has a wide range of currency pairings to select from, including all the most popular major and minor currency pairs
  • Trading platform – the most popular trading platform for forex is MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5, but other banks and brokers use different platforms, with some banks having their own unique platform. If you learn how to use MetaTrader (either version), you may be able to swap from one online broker to another without having to learn to use a new platform
  • Fast execution speeds – because the money markets change so quickly, its important your broker has the means to also execute trades very quickly; therefore, execution speed matters
  • Charting capabilities – how many types of charts are supplied with the trading platform, are they easy to use, and are there plenty of choices to change the time frame of the chart, say from minute to hour to day to week or month?
  • Demo program – there's a lot to learn when first starting to trade FX, so it’s very helpful to have a demo or ‘dummy’ platform where you can log on and ‘paper trade’ to practice before trying the real thing with real money
  • Trading community – does your prospective broker offer an online community or chat service to help you meet other traders online?
  • Education and support – look at the range of trader education material offered by your broker – are there lots of helpful ‘how to’ videos and clips to watch? Do they offer a training course? How does your broker help new clients to learn the necessary trading skills?

What are currency pairs, and what types of pairs are there?

There is a universally accepted way of structuring a currency pair. The value of the base currency (the first currency) is always shown first, against a quote for the second or counter currency. There are three types of currency pairs in forex trading – majors, minors and exotics.

Almost all trading is based on the US dollar, which is the world’s leading reserve currency, and is involved in more than 88% of all FX trades which take place annually worldwide. In total there are more than 128 currency pairs, although only a fraction of these are regularly traded and are suitable for FX trading.

Major currency pairs

The major currency pairs are those traded most often internationally, and all involve the US dollar. These are the most ‘liquid’ pairings, which means they have the highest number of buy and sell orders for that currency, so you’ll never have any trouble finding a buyer if you’re selling a major. The major pairs world-wide are:

EUR/USD: Euro/US dollar

USD/JPY: US dollar/Japanese yen

GBP/USD: British pound/US dollar

USD/CHF: US dollar/Swiss franc

USD/CAD: US dollar/Canadian dollar

AUD/USD: Australian dollar/US dollar

NZD/USD: New Zealand dollar/US dollar

If you are just starting to trade FX, you should consider starting your journey by trading EUR/USD, as this is the most frequently traded pair and the easiest to start with.

Minor currency pairs

Next come those pairings which don’t involve the US dollar. These pairs are less liquid, which means the market for buying and selling them is smaller than for the major pairings. This can mean they move more quickly, behave erratically and have wider spreads than the majors listed above.

EUR/GBP:  Euro/British pound

EUR/AUD:  Euro/Australian dollar

AUD/NZD:  Australian dollar/New Zealand dollar

GBP/JPY:  British pound/Japanese yen

CHF/JPY:  Swiss franc/Japanese yen

NZD/JPY:  New Zealand dollar/Japanese yen

GBP/CAD:  British pound/Canadian dollar

CAD/CHF: Canadian dollar/Swiss franc

Exotic currency pairs

These pairs feature currencies from smaller or emerging nations. They are generally less frequently traded, and so are far less liquid than the majors or minors. You will experience wild and erratic price variations with the exotics, wider spreads, and more difficulty selling your positions, so they are best left to professional and highly experienced traders. Some exotics include:

EUR/TRY:  Euro/Turkish lira

JPY/NOK:  Japanese yen/Norwegian krone

GBP/ZAR:  British pound/South African rand

AUD/MXN:  Australian dollar/Mexican peso

What does margin trading or ‘leverage’ mean when trading forex?

Trading using leverage means you only have to pay for a percentage of the price of the asset (the currency) you are buying. The amount of leverage the broker will allow you is known as the ‘margin’ on offer, and can range from as little as 3% up to 60% or more. For example:

  • Let’s say you want to make a currency trade that will cost $100 in total. If you trade on a 10% margin, you will only have to pay $10 in order to buy that $100 worth of asset. Effectively, your broker ‘loans’ you the additional $90. However, you can take the full profit from the $100 of currency.

Using leverage is like using borrowed money to pay for a part of your trade, expecting the profit you make to be larger than the interest you’re charged to borrow that money. Using leverage magnifies both your profits and losses.

  • In the above example, your profits will come from $100 worth of currency, not just from the $10 that you actually paid out of your trading account to take that position. However, in reverse, you can end up with a loss on $100 of currency, even though you only paid $10 out of your account. In this way, both risk, profits and losses are magnified by using leverage.

Forex trading is complicated and is a risky trading option. Therefore, it’s important to learn about FX trading and understand the risks involved before starting to trade.

Here’s what many of those unfamiliar FX trading words mean:

ASX – the Australian Securities Exchange, Australia’s stock market

BC – base currency, the first currency in a pair

Brokerage fee – a fee you pay to a stock broker or brokerage site each time you use their platform to buy or sell an asset

Bear market – describes a market environment in which the majority of prices are falling

Bull market – an optimistic market in which most prices are rising

Cable – a slang market term for one of the most popular currency pairings ie. GBP/USD currency pair

CC – counter currency, the second currency in a pair

CFDs – a ‘contract for difference’, which is a type of financial product that is bought and sold based on the value of an underlying asset

Cryptocurrency – a form of virtual currency which only exists in the cyber world. Cryptocurrencies can also be traded online in a similar way to standard FX trading

CPI – Consumer Price Index, which reflects the inflation rate of a particular country, and is a very important market indicator in FX trading

Day trading – a trading strategy that involves buying and selling shares in one day, and closing all positions before the end of the trading day

Derivative – a financial product that is based on the underlying value of another asset. CFDs, FX, options and futures are all examples of derivatives

Forex or FX trading – foreign exchange trading, converting one currency to another in order to profit from price changes

Futures contract – a contract to buy or sell an asset at a specified future date for a specified price

Greenback – a FX slang term for the American dollar, based on the colour of American $1 notes

Hedge – an investment strategy designed to offset or reduce your exposure to risk. It is related to the phrase ‘hedging your bets’

Leverage – using borrowed money to invest in assets

Loonie – the slang FX market term for the Canadian dollar (because Canadian dollar coins formerly pictured a loon on them)

OTC – ‘over the counter’ – which describes the global forex market method of operation, where there is no centralised exchange, but rather trades take place directly between two parties

Share trading – buying and selling shares in public companies through a stock exchange

S/R – support/resistance. This describes specific price levels when reading charts using technical analysis. Support is a level below the current price which has previously acted as a low point. Resistance is a chart level above which the price has shown reluctance to climb 

SL – Stop loss order – a type of trading order which automatically kicks in at a certain price to prevent catastrophic loss

Sterling – another name for the British pound

Take a Position – this describes the action of opening a trade – you are said to ‘take a position’ when you choose to open a trade

TP – Take profit order – a price order which is set and then executed to take the profit made on a trade

Volatility – a measure of how much the value of a particular asset fluctuates on a regular basis

What factors can affect foreign exchange rates?

Top tips for FX trading

Do your research before you start

Trading forex takes time to learn, and experience is necessary to become a successful trader. Do plenty of background research, read a wide variety of trading books, and consider attend a FX trading education course before deciding to start trading. When you do begin trading forex, start with just small trades until you gain more experience of how to trade forex successfully.  

Always have a stop loss order in place

A stop loss order is an order that should be put in place for every single trade you make. It is a conditional order that is designed to minimise your risk and losses. For example, your stop loss order may in effect say: ‘If my trade goes against me, and I stand to lose $50, end the trade automatically.’ This order will take effect whether you are watching your trades, or are asleep in bed when it happens, and will protect you from a more devastating loss.

Start by trading highly liquid currencies

Think of trading in the same way as a child first learns football. First, it’s necessary to learn ball-handling skills, like how to kick a ball. This is like learning how to use a trading platform. Next, you have to learn the rules of the game. This means learning how to execute trades, and what different orders mean. Only then should you start to play football. Start small, only trade highly liquid currencies (EUR/USD for example) and don’t try to play ball games before you’ve learnt how to run!  

Have a trading plan and stick to it

A trading plan is essential if you wish to start trading forex. Your plan should outline how you are going to choose which currency pair to trade, your entry and exit indicators, and your overall method and trading strategy. Trading without a detailed trading plan is akin to driving blindfolded, so it’s vital to have a trading plan and stick to it religiously.

Frequently asked questions about forex trading

Is FX trading suitable for beginners?

Yes, all traders have to start somewhere! Forex trading involves using leverage, which requires a good knowledge of risk management. Beginner traders should start trading slowly with small amounts of money, and gradually build up their trading knowledge and confidence before making larger trades.











What is a pip and why are pips important?

A pip (which stands for ‘point in percentage’ or ‘price interest point’) is a unit of measurement which is the smallest whole unit price move that a currency can make. Currencies are usually quoted to four decimal points, so one pip is the last (fourth) digit. It is a measurement of the amount of change or movement in a currency’s value, and is the fundamental unit of FX trading. 

What is an intraday FX trade?

Intraday refers to a trade that is opened and closed on the same trading day, so the position is not held overnight. Intraday trading is also known as day trading, and is the most popular form of trading for more advanced traders who make a living out of the FX markets.

Is holding an overnight position risky?

Yes, holding a position open overnight carries a higher risk of there being a strong price movement between the open and close of the trade. This big price jump may go the wrong way for you, and can turn a small profit into a huge loss overnight. In addition, there are holding fees charged by brokers for any position held overnight.

What hours can I trade forex in Australia?

Forex trading is carried out between a global network of banks and financial institutions that operate 24 hours a day. Currency markets do not have one central global market or location, but are spread throughout the world. It is possible trade forex 24/6 by trading using markets in different time zones throughout the world.