The best forex brokers in Australia offer access to a wide range of currencies, including the AUD, alongside competitive spreads and commissions. Leading Aussie FX brokers are also regulated by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC), providing local investors with a secure trading environment.
This guide lists the top forex brokers in Australia, comparing minimum deposits, tradable assets, leverage, regulatory oversight and more. We also share our tips for comparing online forex brokerages based in Australia.
How Forex Brokers In Australia Work
Forex brokers in Australia provide access to the global foreign exchange market, allowing traders to buy and sell currencies. For example, if you wish to purchase United States Dollars (USD) using Australian Dollars (AUD), a forex broker would allow you to do this by trading the AUD/USD currency pair.
Australia’s history in the forex market dates back as far as the mid-20th century. Post-1967, the Australian Dollar rose in value, cementing its place in the currency market. It had high volatility, exposure and interest swaps, causing it to be popular with FX traders and quickly becoming an attractive vehicle for currency speculators.
Today, it is among the top five global currencies, after the USD, EUR, GBP and JPY, representing around 5% of the entire FX market by volume, despite the fact Australia comprises only 2% of global economic activity.
Before forex brokers in Australia can accept retail investors, they need authorization from the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC), the local financial regulator.
ASIC-regulated FX brokers offer greater protection to retail traders versus firms registered offshore.
However, to obtain a license from the ASIC, several criteria must be met, including:
- Maintaining an office in Australia to support local forex traders
- Holding at least 1 million AUD in capital reserves, enabling the brokerage to navigate uncertain market conditions
- Ensuring transparency in their financial operations, including submitting regular audit reports and segregating client funds
How Forex Brokers In Australia Make Money
Beyond charges that cover the real costs of a brokerage, such as transaction fees, two main charges earn brokers money: spreads and commissions.
Generally, forex brokers in Australia will either use spreads or commissions to make their money, and sometimes both.
The spread of a currency pair is the difference between the bid and the ask price. Spreads rely on the volatility and liquidity of the market; a tight spread would imply low volatility and high liquidity, and vice versa for large spreads. Tight spreads are generally a good time to execute orders as the cost of the trade is lower and there is less chance of slippage.
For example, the AUD/USD currency pair may be quoted as 0.74004/0.73944 by whichever forex broker in Australia you are using. This means that, if you wish to buy USD with AUD, you can only do so at a rate of 0.74004 AUD per USD, while you could sell the asset for 0.73944 AUD/USD. This difference, 0.74004 – 0.73944 = 0.0006, is called the spread.
Forex brokers in Australia that make money through spreads will do so by marking up the difference between the bid and ask prices. CMC Markets, for instance, offers the AUD/USD currency pair with a minimum spread of 0.7 pips.
The other fee structure implemented by forex brokers in Australia focuses on a commission charge.
This can either be given as a fixed base rate, like 3 AUD per trade, or a percentage of the trade’s value.
Importantly, commission-based brokers will still quote spreads for each currency pair, as these come from the markets themselves, so investors must take both fees into account.
How To Compare Forex Brokers In Australia
Carrying out a comparison of Aussie forex brokers is important given the long list of potential providers. But with everyone having slightly different needs, even narrowing brokerages down to the top 10 can seem challenging.
Below we have broken down the key things to think about when choosing forex brokers in Australia.
Range Of FX Pairs
The selection of forex pairs offered is key when evaluating a broker to use. If you open an account with an Aussie broker and then realize they do not offer the currency pairs you are after then you will have wasted time and money. The most commonly traded pairs in Australia are AUD/USD, EUR/AUD and AUD/SGD.
It is also worth considering what markets you may want to expand into in the future, to save you the hassle of needing to find a new broker every time you wish to trade a different asset, for example, stocks listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
As outlined above, spreads and fees can vary. Forex brokers in Australia with greater market access may have lower spreads but then charge higher commissions. Other fees, such as withdrawal or inactivity charges, can also eat away at your profits, so make sure you compare all costs.
It is also important to remember that currency conversion fees may apply if you are trading or managing a forex account in a currency other than AUD.
When purchasing assets in a different currency to your account base currency, IG for example charges a 0.5% fee on top of the currency exchange rate.
Fortunately, the best forex brokers in Australia should offer AUD as the base currency and waive any conversion charges.
Australian brokers regulated locally will be restricted by ASIC leverage rules introduced in March 2021. This includes limiting leverage for retail traders to 1:30 for major currency pairs and 1:20 for minor and exotic pairs. These rules are in place until at least 2027, following a 91% reduction in aggregate net losses by retail client accounts since the rules came into place.
Note, Australian forex traders can access higher leverage by signing up with an offshore brokerage, however, they may sacrifice the client protections afforded by ASIC oversight. Limited regulatory oversight can open investors up to scams and the risk of losing their capital in the event of broker insolvency.
Any business that operates in the Aussie financial markets must be registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC). This means forex brokers should have an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL), which they will often state in the footer of their website.
As the stipulations are relatively strict, many global brokers set up separate entities to serve clients in Australia.
For example, Interactive Brokers operates Interactive Brokers Australia Pty Ltd, which is registered in Sydney and holds a license with the ASIC.
If you are in doubt about the legitimacy of a broker, the official Australian Securities & Investments Commission website maintains a list of registered firms.Users can search by entity name or license number.
The deposit options offered by an online broker can make a big difference in terms of convenience.The top forex brokers in Australia will support local payment methods, reducing transaction speeds and transfer fees.
Most forex brokers in Australia will have a minimum deposit requirement.Brokers with premium-grade services might have high limits, 10,000 AUD or more, while some of the largest low-cost brokers have more accessible requirements of just 10 AUD, which is perfect for beginners.
FP Markets, for example, has a competitive minimum deposit requirement on both their MT4 and MT5 Standard and Raw Accounts of 100 AUD.
Market makers typically offer consistently high liquidity by filling the other side of your order themselves, though this is often criticised because it means firms are effectively betting against their clients.
ECN brokers directly connect their clients with other market participants, offering ultra-tight spreads, particularly during periods of high liquidity.
These brokers will often charge a commission for their services to make up for the tight spreads available.
STP brokers, on the other hand, connect their users to liquidity providers that quote the best bid and ask prices. STP forex brokers in Australia then amalgamate the various quotes and mark up the spread to make their money.
ASIC-regulated forex brokers in Australia are not permitted to offer bonuses, rewards, and promotions to their clients and newcomers. This includes deposit increases, welcome bonuses, and referral rewards. Although this will disappoint some Aussie forex traders, financial incentives often come with unrealistic withdrawal terms and conditions.
Instead, look for forex brokers in Australia that offer other valuable services, such as copy trading or educational materials for FX beginners.
Forex brokers in Australia tend to offer a range of account types, catering to different experience levels and investment strategies. Accounts normally differ in terms of pricing models (spreads only vs tight spreads plus commissions), trading platforms and tools, minimum deposit requirements, plus priority withdrawals and support.
In general, accounts with a higher minimum deposit offer more competitive fees and premium forex analysis tools.
Two of the most popular FX platforms are MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5), though some forex brokers in Australia will offer their own proprietary platforms that are beginner-friendly and reliable. AvaTrade, for example, offers intuitive and user-friendly terminals, including their proprietary AvaTradeGo, AvaOptions, and AvaSocial.
Which terminal to choose is often a case of personal preference.
If you want to log in and pick up where you left off, a browser-based terminal may be suitable.
Those looking for a more stable and reliable trading environment may want to trade forex on downloadable software.
It is also worth looking at the range of tools, charts, historical data, and other analysis features.
Does the broker offer forex heatmaps, for example, or integrated economic calendars with announcements from the Reserve Bank of Australia?
The best and biggest forex brokers in Australia will offer a mobile app that allows for straightforward account management, market analysis and order execution.
SMS alerts and price notifications are also useful.
Compatibility with a range of devices, including iOS, Android, Linux and Huawei, should also be considered.
Mobile apps are useful for ensuring you don’t miss opportunities or let losses wrack up, particularly if you are investing in a market with different operating hours to Australia’s typical trading session.
The Australia Stock Exchange is open Monday to Friday 10 AM to 4 PM, Australian Eastern Daylight Time.
The top forex brokers in Australia will offer responsive and knowledgeable customer service.
Common contact methods include telephone, email and live chat via their website.
It is also best to ensure their customer support team will be working during the hours you intend to be active.
Tip: online reviews and trader forums are a good place to gauge other FX investors’ experiences with a brand.
Final Word On Forex Brokers In Australia
The top-rated forex brokers in Australia will be regulated by the ASIC, offer access to a range of currencies including the AUD, and provide a reliable and stable trading environment.
It is also worth looking at the minimum deposit requirement, with some Aussie brokers accepting traders with a 10 AUD minimum payment.
Use our guide to compare Aussie forex brokers. Alternatively, head to our list of the best forex brokers in Australia to get started today.
Is It Legal To Use Forex Brokers In Australia?
Yes, using forex brokers is completely legal as long as they have an Australian Financial Services License. There is also the option to open accounts with offshore forex brokers that are not regulated by the ASIC, but this comes with additional financial and legal risks.
Where Can I Find ASIC-Regulated Forex Brokers?
ASIC-regulated forex brokers should have their license details easily visible on their website or mobile app. Alternatively, you can go to the regulator’s official website for a full list of regulated companies.
Simply enter the company name or license number into their online database.
Which Are The Best Forex Brokers In Australia?
The best forex broker in Australia will depend on your investment goals and trading style. Key considerations include oversight from the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC), access to currencies including the AUD, plus tight spreads and low commissions. Our guide compares the top forex brokers in Australia with a list of the best platforms in 2023.
What Fees Do I Need To Pay To Use Forex Brokers In Australia?
Fees vary between forex brokers in Australia. The key charges come in the form of spreads and commissions, overnight swaps on leveraged positions, market data subscriptions, deposit and withdrawal charges, currency conversion fees, plus inactivity penalties. Use our list of the top forex brokers for Australian traders to find a low-cost investing platform.