Ireland may be a small country, but it punches well above its size as regulated hub for Forex brokers and as a Forex trading market.
Read on to view my shortlist of the best Forex brokers in Ireland below, followed by an explanation of the criteria you should use to choose the best one for you, and the main issues affecting Forex traders in Ireland.
Best Irish Forex Brokers 2022
Solid broker for scalping and hedging
Institutional-style trading opportunities for retail traders
Daily market research and Autochartist access
High level regulation in multiple jurisdictions
Impressive range of tradeable assets including vanilla options and gold options
Trade 1,000+ financial instruments
Experience low, competitive spreads
Multiple funding and swift withdrawal options
78% of retail CFD accounts lose money
Best social trading platform on the market
Excellent choice of options for crypto traders
78% of retail CFD accounts lose money
- BlackBull Markets, Best ECN trading environment, with scalping and hedging.
- FP Markets, ECN trading with leverage up to 1:500..
- AvaTrade, Highly regulated, choice of fixed or floating spreads.
- Eightcap, Competitive pricing + excellent daily videos.
- eToro, Best broker for social traders and crypto traders : 78% of retail CFD accounts lose money.
5.0/5 in this category
Best ECN trading environment, with scalping and hedging
BlackBull Markets was founded in 2014 in New Zealand. Like many antipodean Forex brokers, BlackBull Markets is an ECN broker, offering raw spreads and commissions. They are regulated in New Zealand by the Financial Services Providers Register (FSPR) and offer a maximum leverage on some Forex currency pairs as high as 500 to 1. In addition to their global headquarters in New Zealand, BlackBull Markets also has presences in the form of branch offices in New York and Malaysia. BlackBull Markets offers a relatively tight range of tradable assets: 27 Forex currency pairs and crosses, gold, silver, crude oil, natural gas, and 6 major equity indices. That should be sufficient for those traders with more focused strategies not requiring wide diversification.
BlackBull Markets Pros & Cons
ECN/NDD execution model with deep liquidity
Institution-grade pricing for retail traders via proprietary price aggregation
ZuluTrade and Myfxbook for social trading
Leverage of up to 1:500
5.0/5 in this category
ECN trading with leverage up to 1:500.
fpmarkets is an ASIC-regulated Australian brokerage which launched in 2005. For most traders, the unique selling point of this broker is in the extremely wide range of tradable assets offered, providing the opportunity to trade over ten thousand individual stocks and shares including publicly quoted Hong Kong and Australian companies. Ffpmarkets also offers 60 Forex pairs and crosses, 11 equity indices, the major commodities, and 5 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin. fpmarkets offers an unusual hybrid ECN/STP execution model, meaning their clients can choose between ECN style of execution giving a very high level of speed, and a “straight through processing” execution style which allows for more “natural” spreads.
FP Markets Pros & Cons
Choice of trading platforms and auxiliary trading tools
Very competitive cost structure and excellent asset selection
Low minimum deposit requirement and leverage of up to 1:500
Well-regulated and trustworthy
5.0/5 in this category
Highly regulated, choice of fixed or floating spreads
A large broker with $70 billion in monthly trading volume, AvaTrade has the capital to invest heavily in its technology and services. It has earned over 30 industry awards, including “Best Forex Broker Ireland 2021.” Their support desk makes it easy for Irish traders with a +353 Ireland number to reach them, and Irish traders can hold their AvaTrade accounts in Euros.
Platforms: MetaTrader 4/5, AvaTradeGO, AvaOptions, and Mac Trading. Their in-house AvaTradeGO app won the “Number 1 Best Forex Trading App” award by Globel Forex Awards.
Execution and fees: AvaTrade is a Market Maker and only charges a spread to their clients.
Regulation: AvaTrade is regulated in multiple countries, including Ireland. It holds client funds in segregated accounts separate from the company’s operations.
4.5/5 in this category
Competitive pricing + excellent daily videos
Eightcap Pros & Cons
Low minimum deposit and high leverage of up to 1:500
Competitive cost structure
Excellent technology infrastructure and seasoned management team
Daily research and quality educational content
4.5/5 in this category
Best broker for social traders and crypto traders : 78% of retail CFD accounts lose money
eToro was founded in the early days of the online retail Forex era, in 2007 – this broker occupies a unique space as the king of social and copy trading. eToro has a long track record and unique reputation to protect, although this image is more focused on its copy trading model than on any other individual feature, except maybe its special relationship with cryptocurrencies. eToro is regulated in Cyprus, the U.K., Australia, and the United States although its U.S. offering is firmly differentiated from its offering to the rest of the world. eToro is a leading cryptocurrencies CFD broker. Following its 2019 acquisition of Danish blockchain company Firmo and Belgian crypto portfolio tracker application Delta, it released its cryptocurrency wallet for mobile devices.
eToro Pros & Cons
Active investment community ideal for social trading
Dedicated tools for social trading
Broad cryptocurrency selection
Expanding educational offering for beginner traders
I divide the decision-making process into these four main criteria for finding the best online brokers in Ireland:
When considering regulatory coverage, traders in Ireland can choose either a Forex broker regulated domestically by the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) or a broker that accepts Irish clients but is overseen by another EU or a foreign regulatory agency.
As Ireland is part of the European Union, the Central Bank of Ireland follows all rules and guidelines enforced by the European Central Bank. The combination of the Irish standards and European directives provides a comprehensive regulatory framework for traders.
What does regulation cover? Whether you choose to go with a broker regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland or choose a broker regulated by a foreign jurisdiction, there will be two central themes to regulatory coverage:
- Trading conditions. Clients should receive fair and transparent trading conditions, for example, accurate price feeds that brokers do not manipulate unfairly.
- Safety of client funds. Brokers should safeguard client funds away from the operations of the company. If the broker were to go insolvent, traders should quickly receive their outstanding deposits.
If you are resident in Ireland, you may feel more comfortable using a Forex broker in Ireland regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. However, brokers regulated outside of Ireland can be just as effectively supervised depending on the jurisdictions that cover them.
Regulation will cover the trading environment brokers provide to their clients and the safety of funds. You can pick a broker regulated in Ireland or outside of Ireland but accepting Irish clients if you are comfortable with the foreign regulators’ standards.
Order execution is a broker’s primary function to their clients. Good order execution should have two qualities: firstly, it should be accurate, and secondly, it should be fast.
Remember that Forex is not traded through a centralized exchange. Instead, Forex is an “over the counter” (OTC) market made up of individual liquidity providers (e.g., large banks) that brokers access to fill their clients’ orders. That means there will be huge variability amongst brokers in how they execute your trades.
Which factors affect a broker’s ability to deliver fast and accurate execution?
- Direct Market Access vs. Market Maker
- Direct Market Access. As the name suggests, Direct Market Access (DMA) brokers give their clients direct access to their liquidity providers without manual intervention.
- Market Maker. The opposite of Direct Market Access is a Market Maker broker. They use an in-house dealing desk to deliver pricing and execution.
- Technology Location. To maintain high connection speeds to clients, some brokers will strategically place their servers worldwide, so you can be physically close to one of their connection points wherever you might be in the world. If you’re using a Direct Market Access broker, their connection to their liquidity providers will also affect execution speed. Some brokers will use servers connected directly to their liquidity providers by fibre optic cables for the quickest possible order transmission.
Execution should be fast and accurate. The best online brokers in Ireland can give you Direct Market Access or act as Market Makers. A broker’s technology will also determine the quality of its execution.
How do brokers charge fees their clients? They do it in two ways:
- Spreads. A spread is the difference between the bid and ask. For example, if a price quote for EURUSD is 1.1300/1.1301, the spread is 1 pip.
- Commissions. A commission will usually be a dollar fee that depends on the size of your trade. Not all brokers charge commissions.
Brokers charge clients through either spread or commissions. Direct Market Access brokers will give you the spread from the liquidity providers and charge a commission. Market Makers charge only a spread to cover their costs.
Almost everything you do as a trader will be through your broker’s trading platform or trading app—it is your gateway into the markets. You will rely on your trading app to analyze charts and decide which markets are moving well and which to avoid. You will use a trading app to place your trades. Because your app is the interface for your trading, an excellent broker’s app will bring out the best in your trading.
Your Forex trading app is your gateway to the market. Be comfortable with the trading app and your broker, and you will have essential tools for success.
The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) acts as the primary regulator for all financial companies in Ireland, including Forex brokers. The CBI is one of the very few central banks that directly regulate financial firms. Since Ireland is a member state of the European Union, CBI-regulated brokers operate under the EU’s “Markets in Financial Instruments Directive” (MiFID). MiFID increases transparency across the European Union’s financial markets and standardizes the regulatory disclosures required for firms operating in the European Union. I consider the regulatory coverage provided by the CBI to be competent and protective of the rights of traders.
What are the CBI’s main requirements from Forex brokers in Ireland?
- Financial Stability: Forex brokers regulated by the CBI must be financially stable and hold a minimum amount of capital directly proportional to the trading capital held in client accounts. Brokers must maintain their customers’ positions even during highly volatile market conditions, which is essential to safeguarding the interest of the traders.
- Pricing: Brokers should be highly transparent in their pricing structure and should not interfere with the markets in any way that would directly or indirectly result in unfavourable conditions for traders. Brokers should always ensure that traders receive accurate pricing feeds free from any manipulation.
- Protection of Funds: Under MiFID, all EU brokers must hold client funds in segregated accounts. Forex brokers regulated by the CBI are also supposed to keep client funds away from their corporate accounts. They cannot access the funds for any other purpose than to maintain a trader’s position in the market.
- Broker Insolvency: The CBI has a detailed insolvency procedure to ensure that all Forex brokers in Ireland follow a predetermined line of action so that all traders are compensated fairly in the event of broker liquidation.
The CBI provides a list of all regulated members through its website and offers a list of broker scams and other financial news by updating information on its website. Traders should check the CBI website to verify whether the CBI regulates a particular Forex broker.
With joint Central Bank of Ireland and EU’s MiFID protection, a broker regulated in Ireland will have strong oversight to protect the client’s interests.
If you have spent any time researching Forex, you’ll soon come across the MetaTrader trading software platform. Today, nearly every Forex broker in Ireland offers MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and sometimes also MetaTrader 5 (MT5). MT4 is by far still the world’s most popular retail trading platform.
MetaTrader Key Facts for Irish Traders:
- Can I place trades with MetaTrader?
Yes. MetaTrader allows you to place trades directly from its interface.
Yes. MetaTrader has a comprehensive toolset for technical analysis. There are dozens of the most popular technical analysis tools, from Moving Averages, Fibonacci, RSI, Stochastic Oscillator, Bollinger Bands, Volume, MACD and many others that I’m sure are important to you. And of course, you can carry out more basic functions, such as drawing support and resistance levels, trend lines, and labelling charts.
- Can I use MetaTrader on my phone and desktop?
Yes. MetaTrader is available on iOS, Android and Windows. Some brokers offer a Mac desktop version. There is also a browser-based version of MetaTrader, but most traders prefer the downloadable app versions.
- What’s great about MetaTrader?
There are two great things about MetaTrader: the community that supports it and its portability.
- Community support: Because it is the most popular Forex trading platform worldwide, there are lots of resources to support it. For example:
- There are plenty of tutorials on how to use MetaTrader.
- Traders in Forex forums will share MetaTrader templates with their indicator or chart settings that you can upload to your MetaTrader charts.
- Widely shared MetaTrader programs called “Expert Advisors” can trade automatically according to the programmers’ rules.
- There are many ways to copy other traders’ signals directly onto your MetaTrader account, either using third-party providers or MetaTrader’s own signal hub.
Portability: If you change brokers, you can usually stay with MetaTrader instead of going through the process of learning a new trading software.
- Where does MetaTrader fall short?
- Innovation: Since MetaTrader’s release in 2005, there has not been much innovation to its features or interface compared to other trading software platforms developed in-house by Forex brokers. To be fair, MetaQuotes (the parent company) have been open about their lack of technical support for MetaTrader 4 as they shifted their primary focus towards MetaTrader 5 some years ago.
- Technological compatibility: Some brokers find that the way that MetaTrader connects to their services does not give the fastest or most stable connections or is not usable on every asset class.
MetaTrader will suit most traders’ needs for technical tools and signal / copy trading services. It is easy to learn, and if you change brokers, you can probably stick with MetaTrader and not learn a new platform.
The best online Forex brokers in Ireland carry alternatives to MetaTrader that they have developed to innovate and attract new customers. For example, Forex brokers have developed trading software especially for options traders, Mac-based traders, and other trading niches. Some Forex broker software platforms have the same capabilities as MetaTrader but with different interfaces, layouts, and aesthetics.
Commissions and Spreads
Commissions and spreads are the two ways brokers in Ireland charge their clients. Let’s first define both.
When you trade any financial instrument, there will be a difference between the price you can buy and the price you can sell. This difference is called the spread. There will be spreads in stocks, cryptocurrencies, Forex, and lots of other asset classes.
Let’s say you see a price quote for GBPUSD as 1.33000/1.33005. In that quote, the spread is 0.5 pips.
What should you know about spreads?
- Generally, the spread is smaller for more liquid, widely traded instruments. EURUSD, for example, will have a lower spread than an exotic cross such as EUR/HUF.
- Floating spreads vary depending on trading conditions. For example, spreads widen shortly before a news announcement or during inactive times of the day. It’s worth noting that Irish traders have the advantage of being in an attractive time zone to easily trade the London and New York sessions during the day (the most active Forex sessions), thereby accessing lower spreads.
- You should measure a spread relative to the “Average Daily Range.” A 1-pip spread for a Forex pair that moves 50 pips on average in a day is equivalent to a 2-pip spread for another Forex pair that usually moves 100 pips in a day.
- Market Maker brokers make their own spread, and they usually don’t charge anything else outside of the spread. Direct Market Access brokers will give you the spread directly from their liquidity providers, often known as the “raw spread.” There will be times when the raw spread is zero. So, how do Direct Market Access brokers make money when spreads are so low?
A commission is simply a cash charge made by the broker that’s added each time you trade.
What should you know about commissions?
- Brokers calculate commissions on the size of your trade, for example, $10 commission for every standard lot.
- Because Direct Market Access brokers do not charge a spread, they always charge a commission to earn revenue.
You should not necessarily choose a Forex broker based on low cost alone. Brokers provide you with overall service and not just execution. To make the best broker decision, it is helpful to appropriately value their range of trading platforms, customer service, technology, and regulation. For example, you may choose a broker regulated in Ireland, which has servers located in Ireland and has an Irish customer support number that you can reach during the day in the Irish time zone. It is sometimes worth paying a little extra for a better service that can help improve your trading in the long run.
Key takeaway: Brokers charge clients through either spreads or commissions. Direct Market Access brokers will give you the spread from the liquidity providers and charge a commission. Market Makers usually charge just a spread to cover their costs. Don’t always go for the lowest cost – you still want a good service.
You can take the entire universe of Forex account types and divide them into two categories, both of which are available with Irish Forex brokers.
The first type is Market Makers, and the second type is Direct Market Access brokers. Many Forex brokers in Ireland will offer both account types.
As the name suggests, this type of broker “makes the market” for traders. Market Makers form a bridge between the interbank market and Forex traders. They do this by buying up large positions from the liquidity providers and selling them to their clients in smaller pieces. Essentially, they are taking the other side of the trade (although they may later hedge positions, so they are neutral.) A Market Maker carries out this process in their dealing desk department, and the execution of the orders occurs in-house.
Why choose a Market Maker / Dealing Desk broker?
- A Market Maker’s in-house order execution is potentially quicker than a Direct Market Access broker who takes your order and fills it externally from their liquidity pool.
- Because Market Makers set their own pricing and spreads, they can offer smoother price fluctuations and spreads. In contrast, Direct Market Access brokers have no control over spreads, price fluctuations or trading conditions.
- Market-Makers only charge a spread. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are lower cost than a Direct Market Access broker with a commission. But some traders find it easier to manage the cost when it is only a spread.
- Most Market Makers often allow smaller account sizes compared to Direct Market Access brokers.
Direct Market Access brokers are also called Straight Through Processing (STP) or Non-Dealing (NDD) brokers (an ECN broker is a type of Direct Market Access broker). DMA brokers give traders direct access to their liquidity providers for pricing and execution.
Why choose a Direct Market Access Broker?
- They offer variable spreads, of which you can take advantage when spreads are very low, for example, during active times of the day in Forex.
- There is almost no chance of price manipulation because they never take the other side of their client’s trades. This is the single biggest reason why many traders prefer Direct Market Access.
- DMA brokers have no restrictions on short-term trading, hedging, news trading, and so on.
- Scalpers (very short-term traders that look for just a handful of pips in a trade) prefer DMA brokers because they get every raw movement in price, which Market Makers often smooth out.
Market Makers use an in-house dealing desk, and they control pricing and execution. A Direct Market Access broker gives you their liquidity providers’ pricing without any intervention. Both types are available in Ireland, and either can be suitable depending on your needs as a trader.
Most Irish Forex brokers offer multiple methods to deposit and withdraw from your account. Some of the main methods are:
- Credit Card – Visa and Mastercard are the two most accepted credit card payments by Irish Forex brokers.
- Wire Transfer – this is often the most costly and slowest method of moving money in and out of your Forex broker, but some see it as the most secure.
- Local Bank Transfer – of all the methods, this is probably the least costly, and it is still very secure.
- PayPal – if you’re a regular user of PayPal, you may find this highly convenient.
- Skrill – a convenient method if you are a regular user of Skrill.
Many brokers won’t charge for deposits and withdrawals. However, payment institutions may charge you to transfer money in or out of your accounts.
To prevent money laundering, all reputable brokers will only accept deposits and withdrawals from and to an account that matches the name on their records. For example, you can’t withdraw into someone else’s bank account.
The best Forex brokers in Ireland will offer multiple payment methods including credit card, bank transfer, and PayPal. Check costs and security on both sides before deciding which one to use.
Forex traders in Ireland have several unique advantages that help set them up for success. Ireland is part of the EU, so both Irish regulations and EU rules keep Irish brokers’ standards high that help protect traders. Ireland also sits on one of the best time zones for Forex trading because Irish traders can capture the London Open and New York Open (the two most active Forex sessions) during the day. As a result, there is a fantastic choice of Irish Forex brokers from Market Makers to Direct Market Access brokers offering trading in every major asset class.
Which broker is best for Forex trading in Ireland?
Any Forex broker that meets your needs in terms of regulation, commissions and spreads, markets, and trading platforms.
What brokers can I use in Ireland?
You can use a Forex broker regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland or one that accepts Irish customers but is regulated by an overseas jurisdiction.