6 Best Forex Trading Platforms In Canada (2023): Trade Foreign Currencies

Are you looking to trade foreign currencies but don’t know much about the different foreign exchange platforms that are available to Canadian traders?

The forex market is actually the largest financial market in the world, currently worth approximately $2.4 quadrillion. Data sources from 2019 estimate daily turnover in the forex market to be roughly $6.6 trillion.

Keep in mind that forex trading is riskier than investing in stocks due to its speculative nature and the typical presence of leverage.

I will cover the best forex trading platforms in Canada below and outline some of their key features.

The largest number of currency pairs
CMC Markets
  • Approximately 330 currency pairs
  • Low currency spreads
  • Variable trading commissions


 

Most inexpensive platform overall
Interactive Brokers
  •  Approximately 100 currency pairs
  • Very tight currency spreads
  • Low variable trading commissions
Best commission-free platform
Forex.com
  • No trading commissions
  • 80 currency pairs for trading
  • Low account opening minimum

­Currency Trading – What is a Forex CFD?

Forex is commonly traded using Forex CFDs, or contracts for differences. A CFD is a contract between an investor and a dealer to exchange the difference in the value of something from the time that the contract is opened until it is closed. The investor does not own the underlying asset or investment.

Advantages of trading with CFDs include ease of execution, the ability to go long or short, and the ability to invest in the underlying asset without actually owning it. Disadvantages include an immediate loss when the position is opened (reduced by the spread), weak regulation, and needing to maintain margin.

Criteria used to Rank the Best Forex Trading Platforms

I take a look at the following criteria when ranking the best forex trading platforms:

  1. The number of currency pairs available: the number of currency pairs available for trading on the platform.
  2. Currency spreads: how tight spreads are when trading.
  3. Trading commissions: how high trade commissions are and how trading commissions are structured.
  4. Account opening minimum: if there is a minimum required deposit (and how high it is).

6 Best Forex Trading Platforms in Canada

1. CMC Markets: Largest Currency Variety

CMC Markets

 Wealth Awesome Score: 9/10

  • Number of currency pairs: 330 pairs
  • Currency spreads: low
  • Trading commissions: variable
  • Account opening minimum: zero

Do use CMC Markets if: You are looking to trade a very large range of currency pairs.

Do not use CMC Markets if: You are looking for the absolute lowest-cost forex platform.

CMC Markets takes the top spot on my list as a great forex platform for most Canadian traders that are looking to trade foreign currencies.

The platform is a well-known Canadian broker with an office in downtown Toronto. The platform allows clients to trade not only 330 forex pairs but also more than 10,000 financial instruments.

CMC Markets offers spreads on major forex pairs starting from 0.7 points. Clients can sign up for an FX active account, which allows them to access ultra-tight forex spreads as low as 0.0 pips (for six major forex pairs).

Examples of minimum spreads that you can expect for major currency pairs include:

PairMinimum Spread (points)
AUD/CAD2.2
AUD/NZD2.6
AUD/SGD3.3
AUD/USD0.7
EUR/AUD2.5
EUR/CHF2.5
EUR/GBP1.1
EUR/JPY1.5

The platform does not have an account opening minimum.

FX active accounts allow you to access a low trading commission of 0.0025% per transaction, which is charged upfront when opening and closing trades. Traders from Alberta will have to be classified as accredited investors to use the platform.

CMC Markets also supports the trading of CFDs with stocks or indices as the underlying investment.

Pros
  • The largest amount of currency pairs available to trade
  • Low currency spreads and variable trading commissions charged
  • Access to stock and index CFDs
Cons
  • Not the lowest-cost platform for trading forex

2. Interactive Brokers: An Investment App for Seasoned Investors

Interactive Brokers Logo

 Wealth Awesome Score: 8.75/10

  • Number of currency pairs: 100 pairs
  • Currency spreads: very low
  • Trading commissions: variable
  • Account opening minimum: zero

Do use Interactive Brokers if: You are a professional forex trader looking for a low-cost platform.

Do not use Interactive Brokers if: You are new to trading forex.

In second place on my list of best forex trading platforms in Canada is Interactive Brokers. Interactive Brokers offers an amazing brokerage that seasoned investors and traders will find very attractive – not just those that are looking to trade foreign currencies.

Interactive Brokers allow you to trade more than 100 currency pairs at very tight spreads (as low as 1/10 PIP, or 0.0001). The platform provides client access to professional forex trading tools and was rated five stars out of five overall in the Forex Brokers 2022 annual review.

The brokerage offers you direct access to interbank quotes, with real-time quotes from 17 of the world’s largest forex dealers. As with other platforms, only accredited investors from the province of Alberta can trade forex through Interactive Brokers.

Trading commissions are also very low, ranging from 0.08 to 0.2 basis points times trade size. Interactive Brokers provides one of the lowest-cost forex trading platforms in Canada. The platform does require an account minimum opening balance.

To learn more about Interactive Brokers as an overall brokerage, make sure to read my Interactive Brokers review.

Pros
  • One of the lowest-cost forex trading platforms in Canada
  • Over 100 currency pairs available for trading
  • Tight spreads and deep liquidity
Cons
  • A complex platform that may be daunting for new traders

3. Forex.com

Forex.com Logo

 Wealth Awesome Score: 7.5/10

  • Number of currency pairs: 80 pairs
  • Currency spreads: high
  • Trading commissions: none
  • Account opening minimum: $100

Do use Forex.com if: You are looking to avoid paying trading commissions on your forex trades.

Do not use Forex.com if: You want tight trading spreads.

Another great forex trading platform to consider is Forex.com. Forex.com is a brokerage that allows you to trade over 80 currency pairs, as well as CFDs on indices, stocks, and commodities.

Forex.com offers an active trader program that provides clients with several key advantages. These include:

  • Reduced trading costs by as much as 15% (in cash rebates)
  • Market strategist one-on-one support
  • Bank fee reimbursement for wire transfers

The company does not have a physical office within Canada and defers clients to its office address in the US. Similar to other platforms, forex traders from Alberta will have to be classified as accredited investors.

Forex.com charges spreads as low as 0.8 pips and does not charge trading commissions. While this is good in theory, the lack of flat or variable trading commissions translates into higher spreads when trading.

The platform has a $100 account opening minimum.

Pros
  • Over 80 currency pairs available for trading
  • No trading commissions
  • Low account minimum
Cons
  • Relatively wider trading spreads
  • No physical location in Canada

4. AvaTrade

AvaTrade logo

 Wealth Awesome Score: 7/10

  • Number of currency pairs: 30 pairs
  • Currency spreads: high
  • Trading commissions: none
  • Account opening minimum: $300

AvaTrade is another platform to consider using if you are looking to trade forex. In Canada, AvaTrade offers its services through Frieberg Direct, a part of the Friedberg Mercantile Group, which is registered with IIROC.

In terms of currency diversity, AvaTrade offers a very limited shelf relative to peers, with only 30 pairs available for trading. The platform does not charge trading commissions and instead earns money through the fixed spreads that it charges traders.

The spreads that AvaTrade charges are considerably higher than peers that charge trading commissions for forex trades.

AvaTrade offers a variety of educational materials, including articles, video tutorials, and other tools, on the education section of its website.

If you are looking to trade forex and are a resident of Alberta, you will have to be qualified as an accredited investor to open an account with AvaTrade.

The platform has a $300 account opening minimum.

5. Oanda

Oanda Logo

 Wealth Awesome Score: 6/10

  • Number of currency pairs: 70 pairs
  • Currency spreads: dependent on the chosen fee structure
  • Trading commissions: dependent on the chosen fee structure
  • Account opening minimum: $0

Oanda is another IIROC-regulated brokerage in Canada to consider using for forex trading. The company has a local registered office in downtown Toronto. Like other platforms, residents of Alberta will have to qualify as accredited investors to use Oanda for forex trading.

Oanda offers a decent range of CFD trading options, of which 70 are foreign exchange pairs. Spreads on forex trading are as low as 1 pip (in this case, for EUR/USD). Keep in mind that this spread is ten times higher than the lowest spread offered by Interactive Brokers.

Oanda offers clients two choices when charging fees (through trading commissions or wider spreads). Clients are able to choose between spread-only pricing (which comes with wider spreads) and a core pricing plus commission option. The second option comes with a reduced spread but charges traders a flat commission per trade (both when buying and selling).

The platform does not have an account opening minimum.

6. FXCM

FXCM Logo

 Wealth Awesome Score: 5/10

  • Number of currency pairs: 40 pairs
  • Currency spreads: low
  • Trading commissions: flat
  • Account opening minimum: $5,000

A final option for trading forex in Canada is FXCM. FXCM operates in Canada through Friedberg Direct (an IIROC member), similar to AvaTrade. FXCM does not have a local office in Canada, and traders from Alberta will have to classify as accredited investors to use the platform.

Since FXCM charges a flat commission per forex trade, it has very low currency spreads. As an example, the spread on EUR/USD can be as low as 0.2 pips.

The platform also has an active trader program designed for individuals that trade very high volumes. The requirements are a minimum balance of $25,000 and at least $50 million traded on a monthly basis. Benefits include reducing spreads by up to 60%.

FXCM charges a flat commission per forex trade. The rate is currently $0.007 one way for popular currencies ($0.014 for a buy and a sell) or $0.009 for all other currencies ($0.018 for a buy and a sell).

FXCM has a $5,000 minimum deposit to open an account which is substantially higher than peers that have either no minimum balance or a much lower one.

Risks Involved with Trading Forex

Trading forex to make money is highly speculative and comes with a lot of risks that you should be aware of.

Currency movements are almost entirely unpredictable and are impacted by a wide range of macroeconomic factors. In most cases, traders will rely purely on technical analysis to try and predict which way a currency pair will move.

In a lot of cases, forex traders will be using leverage to try and magnify their gains (and hopefully not losses). Using leverage requires traders to maintain a minimum margin in their accounts and can lead to losses that are greater than the entire value of the account.

Unlike traditional investing, which is more predictable and typically avoids the use of leverage, forex trading is a much higher-risk endeavour.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I do Forex Trading in Canada?

You are able to trade forex through a brokerage that is an IIROC member in almost all cases. One key exception is for residents of Alberta – they have to qualify as accredited investors before trading forex.

What is the Safest Forex Broker?

Canadian forex brokers are generally very safe due to the requirement of being an IIROC member.

Which Forex is Best for Beginners?

New forex traders that are looking to learn how to trade currencies should stick to commonly-traded currency pairs such as EUR/USD. In a lot of cases, forex brokers charge thinner spreads for popular currencies, allowing you to save more money when trading.

Do you Pay Taxes on Forex in Canada?

Foreign exchange gains or losses will be taxed as either capital gains or losses, according to the government of Canada. Net gains or losses only have to be reported if they exceed $200; otherwise, they do not need to be reported.

Can you Start Trading Forex with just $100?

A lot of forex brokerages have no minimum account requirement or require low amounts of starting capital. Trading with $100 is possible, especially when trading on margin. You will have to be very careful, as you can lose more than the $100 that you started trading with if you decide to use leverage.

Conclusion

Best Forex Trading Platforms In Canada

After taking into account the criteria for choosing the best forex trading platform in Canada, CMC Markets shines as the best choice for most Canadians looking to trade foreign currencies.

Professional or seasoned traders will also want to strongly consider Interactive Brokers due to its sophisticated offering and low costs of trading.

Remember that trading foreign currencies for profit is extremely risky and can cause you to lose more money than you initially invested (if you are using margin). Most foreign currency traders quickly fail to generate trade profits shortly after starting off.

If you are considering other trading options in Canada, make sure to read my guide outlining the best day trading stocks in Canada for some excellent alternatives.

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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