How We Test
Our mission at ForexBrokers.com is to provide in-depth, unbiased reviews of online forex brokers and deliver accurate, data-driven content to help traders pick an online forex broker they can trust.
As the forex world evolves, so do we; our proprietary testing methodologies and algorithms are constantly being refined, and we fact-check and audit data for our guides, reviews, and articles dynamically to ensure that our readers are getting the best, most up-to-date information.
ForexBrokers.com Annual Reviews: A Short History
ForexBrokers.com was created in 2016 with a simple purpose in mind: to become the world’s leading provider of in-depth, unbiased reviews of online forex brokers. In April of 2017, ForexBrokers.com published its first Annual Review.
Our editorial team produced the ForexBrokers Annual Review of the top forex brokers in the industry for six years in a row. Each year, we gathered thousands of data points, crafted tens of thousands of thousands of words of research, and delivered dozens of awards to the best online forex brokers.
Did you know?
In 2022, our research team collected 4,407 data points and published over 50,000 words of research.
In 2023, we announced the next stage in the evolution of the ForexBrokers.com Annual Review: The ForexBrokers.com Annual Awards.
Adhering to the same strict standards as our Annual Review, results for the Annual Awards are unbiased and determined by our independent research. Broker Awards are bestowed based on demonstrated excellence in categories considered important to investors, traders, and consumers.
Our editorial principles have earned the trust of millions of readers; our data-driven forex broker reviews and guides have been visited by nearly six million global readers (over 1.5 million in 2022 alone). Our ratings, rankings, and online broker reviews are more accurate than ever, now that our research and testing methodologies have evolved into a dynamic process.
Our Dynamic Editorial Model
Under ForexBrokers.com’s dynamic editorial process, our team collects data, tests products, and conducts research on an ongoing basis. Broker ratings and rankings are no longer held static between year-end Annual Reviews. Instead, our research team has the scope and flexibility to continually update our findings, allowing for more accurate content and deeper engagement with the forex industry.
Our research and data-collection processes have shifted to a dynamic model, but the integrity and accuracy of our data remain the same. We regularly audit and validate our data, and as on our sister site, StockBrokers.com, our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than 1% each year.
Research and Data Leadership
Steven Hatzakis is the Global Head of Research for ForexBrokers.com (and for our sister site, BrokerNotes.co). An expert voice on the complexities of global forex trading and international regulatory agencies, Steven leads the research and testing efforts at ForexBrokers. He also serves as the lead writer for our online broker reviews, and is our final voice for decisions pertaining to rankings and opinion scoring.
Steven has decades of experience in the foreign exchange markets and has published over 1,000 articles covering the forex industry. Click here to read more about Steven.
Our Editorial Principles
- If we love a service or company, we’ll tell you – no matter what.
- If we think a company or service has room to improve (or should be avoided altogether), we’ll let you know – no matter what.
- If we’ve determined that using a broker or service provider puts your money at risk, we’ll say so – no matter what.
Here are a few things that we’ll never do to make money:
- We never change our opinion of a product or service, or modify our evaluation process to gain or preserve an affiliate partnership.
- We never highlight (or deliberately conceal) a specific product or service to gain or maintain an affiliate relationship.
- We never alter our proprietary data-driven algorithms (like Trust Score) to favor an affiliate partner.
- We never share marketing revenue information or advertising campaign data with our researchers or our editorial team.
Broker Evaluations and Testing Methodologies
Broker evaluations at ForexBrokers are based on our collected quantitative data as well as the qualitative observations and qualified opinions of our expert researchers.
Our evaluation process begins with a comprehensive analysis and assessment of the broker’s products and services. We examine any and all aspects of the broker’s offering that may be of interest to the broker’s customers. This includes a deep dive into all websites operated by the broker, all available content across a variety of mediums, and rigorous testing of the broker’s proprietary tools and/or software.
After we’ve completed our testing of the broker’s products, services, and tools (collecting and validating thousands of data points in the process), our expert researchers and writers begin the process of crafting opinion scores. Opinion scores are for those aspects of broker reviews that simply aren’t easily quantifiable (such as the relative complexity of a new mobile trading platform designed for beginner traders, for example).
With our quantitative and qualitative examinations of a broker’s product offerings complete, we turn our attention towards the broker’s regulatory status; this research helps us determine whether you should trust the broker to keep your money safe.
All testing is conducted on modern devices that run the most up-to-date operating systems available. Our Desktop PCs run Windows 11, and we use MacBook Pro laptops running macOS 12.5 for trading on the go. For mobile testing, we use the Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra devices running Android OS 12.
All testing on mobile devices is conducted via an 802.11n wireless WiFi connection; 4G connections are used when WiFi is not available. All websites and web-based platforms are tested using the latest version of the Google Chrome browser.
Determining whether you can trust a broker with your money is one of the most difficult – and most important – distinctions you need to make when choosing a broker. The team at ForexBrokers wanted to help traders make informed, intuitive choices based on the level of trust between broker and trader. That simple idea resulted in the development of our proprietary tool, called Trust Score.
We’ve collected comprehensive data on dozens of brokers that span a wide range of regulatory environments, jurisidictions, and countries. Based on our extensive research, we’ve sorted regulatory agencies into three categories (Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3), with Tier 1 indicating the most stringent regulatory environment (which is good) and Tier 3 the least.
Our proprietary algorithm combines our data collection on brokers with our exhaustive research on international regulators to produce an individual Trust Score for each broker. Trust Score is a ranking from 1 to 99 (the higher a broker’s Trust Score, the better).
Click here to learn more about Trust Score.
At ForexBrokers, all broker evaluations begin with a Yes/No assessment, which is based on over 100 proprietary variables that collectively inform our final ratings and rankings.
But what does that really mean?
Points are awarded for each “Yes” answer that can be assigned to each of our variables (“No” answers result in zero points). The number of points awarded for each “Yes” answer varies, depending on the significance of the variable (not all variables are graded equally; some features are considered more important than others).
Then, the total number of points earned from those “Yes” answers is divided by the number of total points possible, which results in a final “Yes/No” score (or, the broker’s Variable Score).
Next, our team of expert researchers and writers craft and assign opinion scores for each category. Opinion scores range from 1 - 10, with one being the lowest score possible (very bad), and ten being the highest (very good). Half points are used, e.g. "9.5", so scoring isn't restricted to just whole numbers.
Our editorial team utilizes opinion scoring to better represent those important distinctions that can’t be quantified or summarized in a “Yes/No” answer. These separate scoring systems represent our efforts to include a wide range of observations in our broker evaluations; we strive to include quantitative data as well as qualitative analysis in our ratings and rankings.
To determine a final percentage score for one of our scoring categories, the broker’s Variable Score and Opinion Score are independently weighted and then combined to produce a Final Score. Weightings vary by category, depending on the complexity of the category. This Final Score is then translated to a star rating.
Commissions & Fees scoring
Scoring for our Commissions & Fees category utilizes a separate scoring rubric due to the inherent complexity of the category.
First, multiple scenarios are assessed for placing trades. For example, the average reported and/or observed spread for the EUR/USD pair. Brokers are then awarded points depending on how expensive (or inexpensive) their average spreads (in this example) are, relative to their peers.
Next, multiple scenarios are assessed for different investor types on a monthly basis, incorporating any miscellaneous account fees, alongside any active trader or VIP rates. The goal is to determine a net, "all-in" cost per trade.
Finally, all data is analyzed to determine an overall score for Commissions & Fees.
When reviewing forex brokers, we test a wide range of products and features across over 110 variables. Our eight primary categories are as follows: Commissions & Fees, Offering of Investments, Platforms & Tools, Research, Trust Score, Mobile Trading, Education, and Overall.
The weightings of each category are as follows:
|Commissions & Fees
|Platforms & Tools
|Offering of Investments
Industry Awards recognize breakout innovations, unparalleled product offerings, and remarkable platform experiences. Industry awards are determined based on the measurable, data-driven criteria that decide our Category rankings as well as the opinion scores of our editorial team. These unique awards are designed to showcase the very best in the industry.
Here is a breakdown of our Industry Awards and our process for selecting winners:
#1 Platform Technology
Our award for #1 Platform Technology is based on the sophistication and advanced nature of a broker’s proprietary trading technology. Our team considers the depth of available tools, variety of features, and richness of data that contributes to the overall platform experience. Results are determined in part by the data collected for the 22 variables within our Platforms & Tools category.
#1 Desktop Platform
Brokers that offer a desktop platform, defined as a downloadable Windows-based or Mac-based trading platform, are considered for the #1 Desktop Platform award. This individual award is based in part on the results from our testing of 22 data-based variables within the Platforms & Tools category.
#1 Mobile App
Awarded to the broker with the best mobile app for retail traders, our research team evaluates the richness (and sophistication) of available features within the trading app. Also considered is the quality of the app’s design and how it impacts the overall user experience. A dozen individual variables are assessed for each mobile app as part of our testing within the Mobile Trading category.
#1 Web Platform
Brokers that offer a web trading platform, defined as a trading platform that runs through a web browser (such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge), are considered for the #1 Web Platform award. The winner of this award is determined in part by the results from our testing of 22 data-based variables within our Platforms & Tools category.
#1 New Trading Tool
Our award for #1 New Trading Tool is partly based on data collected during our testing across all primary categories, with particular attention given to Research, Education, Platforms & Tools, Mobile Trading, and Investment Options. This award recognizes a new innovative product or feature launched by a broker during the previous calendar year that impacts the trading experience. Our editorial team looks for tools that push the industry forward in a unique way, whether that be in investment research, portfolio management, education, or account offering.
Our award for innovation recognizes broker achievement in pushing the industry forward. Our team tests and analyzes new tools, experiences, and features that challenge industry standards and unlock new abilities for individual traders and investors.
#1 Most Currency Pairs
This award recognizes the broker that offers the largest number of currency pairs. Our calculation includes cross-currency pairs, exotic pairs, and forex pairs that may be quoted in both directions (i.e. EUR/USD and USD/EUR count as two distinct pairs).
#1 Most CFDs
A contract for difference, or CFD, is a tradeable instrument that tracks the price of an underlying security or asset. CFDs are not available to traders in the U.S. but are otherwise offered by brokers around the world. Our award for #1 Most CFDs recognizes the international broker that offers the largest number of CFDs, worldwide.
#1 Most Cryptos
To choose the winner for our #1 Most Cryptos award, our team examines the full scope of a broker’s cryptocurrency offering, including whether crypto is offered through a third party or the broker offers an in-house solution. We consider additional features, such as whether the crypto is available as a CFD or the underlying asset, the ability to deposit and withdraw crypto with the broker, the availability of crypto wallets, and the ability to stake crypto and earn interest.
#1 Institutional Clients
For this award, we focus on the areas of importance to institutional – or, professional – traders, such as those trading independently for a living (e.g., day traders) or those working for a professional institution such as a hedge fund. We look at platform depth, customization, trading tools, portfolio management, and order management, including the availability of complex order types. Results are determined in part by the data collected for the 22 variables within our Platforms & Tools category.
#1 Tradeable Symbols
When determining the winner for this Industry Award, we count each individual product as a trading symbol (i.e., TSLA is the ticker symbol for Tesla), and recognize the broker with the largest number of tradeable symbols across all available asset classes and underlying markets.
#1 Forex Options
This award recognizes the depth of a broker’s offering of forex options. We determine the number and type of available forex options, and whether it’s possible to trade forex options on-exchange (i.e. exchange-traded options on a national stock or derivatives exchange) or off-exchange. We also consider the number and quality of tools available, such as options screeners and pre-defined options strategies.
#1 Trader Community
This award recognizes the broker that most effectively encourages client social interaction and hosts an active, engaged trader community across a variety of venues, including social media, forums, networks, and other means of interaction.
#1 Banking Services
As a rapidly expanding area of brokerage services, banking features have grown in importance to forex traders who value ease of money transfer and the ability to keep their investing and banking under one roof. Our research team evaluates each broker’s offerings, such as cash management tools, debit and credit cards, traditional bank accounts, mobile deposits, no-fee banking, and branch accessibility.
#1 VIP Client Experience
Deciding factors when evaluating the best VIP Client Experience include any minimum deposit requirements, the availability (and quality) of associated perks, lifestyle benefits, entry to special events, and access to discounted trading costs (such as reduced commissions and/or spreads).
#1 Fastest Growing Broker
This award recognizes the broker that has experienced the most significant growth, as determined by the total number of new customer accounts opened in the previous 12 months.
#1 YouTube Channel
This new Industry Award recognizes the broker with the most impressive forex-related YouTube channel. Deciding factors include the variety, quality, and quantity of available content. Also factored into our decision is the channel’s level of organization and the broker’s effective use of dedicated playlists.
#1 Educational Course
This award dives deeper than an evaluation of the standard educational resources provided by most forex brokers, and recognizes the best educational course provided in-house by a forex broker. We consider factors such as the quality and layout of course materials, the availability of progress tracking and quizzes, and the overall impact and difficulty of the course’s educational content.
#1 ESG Offering
Our #1 Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) award is heavily informed by the testing in our Research category, and highlights the broker that provides the most comprehensive experience for socially responsible investing. We consider the availability of screening tools, third-party ratings, visual data, and other research features that help to identify ESG-related investment opportunities.
#1 Podcast Series
This new Industry Award recognizes the best podcast series developed and provided by a forex broker. Our research team considers the number and quality of podcast episodes available, any topical relevance or potential educational value for traders and investors, as well as the expertise and relevance of persons featured in persons featured and/or interviewed within podcast episodes.
#1 Webinar Series
An increasingly popular multimedia format, a good webinar series facilitates interactions between clients and broker representatives in a live environment. When determining the winner of our #1 Webinar Series award, our research team considers factors such as the scope, quality, and frequency of available broker webinars.
#1 Charting Technology
Many investors and forex traders demand access to robust charts for analyzing current and historical market prices. When deciding the winner of our award for #1 Charting Technology, our research team considers the number (and quality) of tools, indicators, and features that are available with the broker’s charting software.