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Best Trading Platforms for European Traders in 2019

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Forex BrokerMax LeverageMin. DepositSpreadFull ReviewsTrade Now
500:1$200From 0.0 PipsRead the full review
400:1$0From 0.0 PipsRead the full review
500:1$0From 0.1 PipsRead the full review
500:1$200From 0.0 PipsRead the full review
500:1$200From 0.0 PipsRead the full review
400:1$100From 1.8 PipsRead the full review
500:1$5From 0.0 PipsRead the full review

The European Market for CFD Trading



At first glance, the European market for trading CFDs, Forex and other financial instruments seems to offer retail investors a vibrant diversity. On closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that behind the scenes, the market is dominated by a few dozen rather than a few hundred suppliers. Of course, European traders do not need to select from EU- or UK-based brokers alone. Many offshore online brokers provide excellent trading conditions and are in no way "less trustworthy or secure" than those companies based in Europe.

Anyone who compares different European brokers will quickly notice that there is a remarkably high number of providers based in Cyprus. In recent years, the island state has developed into one of the most important locations for CFD and Forex brokers. This is not least due to tax advantages.

Cyprus as a brokerage centre?

Cyprus has been a member of the European Union (EU) since 2004 and has ratified the EU Financial Markets Directive MiFID accordingly. Cypriot Forex brokers are regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) which has to follow ESMA's regulatory framework. Nevertheless, CySEC regulation cannot be compared with that in Australia (ASIC), the USA (NFA and CFTC), Germany (BaFin) or Great Britain (FCA) for example.

In spring 2013, the Cypriot financial system collapsed, causing many creditors of local banks to suffer heavy losses due to compulsory levies.

Most Cypriot brokers, therefore, switched to keeping their customers' money with banks abroad and keeping it out of the Cypriot financial system by 2013 at the latest.

Many industry observers criticise the brokers based in Cyprus for the fact that trading conditions are not measurably more favourable than for brokers in established financial locations and that the advantages of the island state are not translated into advantages for customers. Besides, many online brokers domiciled in Cyprus act as market makers.

Great Britain is one of the most important locations for European CFD brokers. As one of the major financial hubs of the world, London remains a melting pot for financial institutions such as banks and stock exchange brokers. Many providers try to generate trust with an address in the economic metropolis London in the United Kingdom to win customers.

However, it should be remarked that only some of the UK-based brokers actually operate their own trading platform. Instead, many act as a whitelabel - a franchise-type arrangement - of bigger brands: these providers win customers and pass them on to larger brokers.

Whitelabel brokers often have their own brand and user interface for trading. Behind the surface, however, is the trading platform of a larger broker. Sometimes the opening of an account via such an intermediary can result in a cost advantages for investors, and sometimes trading there is also more expensive than with a regular broker.

Finding the right CFD broker


Finding the right broker can be cumbersome and time-consuming. No matter which type of broker you select, make sure that the provider ticks a few important boxes. Our broker comparison will highlight which CFD and stock brokers are particularly secure thanks to measures such as negative balance protection, the exclusion of a margin obligation or guaranteed stop-loss orders. We will also dive deep and look at all important criteria for selecting the right provider. Let's begin!

Important criteria in selecting the right broker

If you are a retail investor looking for a good Forex trading platform, you should consider that a variety of factors play a vital role in the selection. The most important criteria are, for example:

- available online trading platforms and trading tools

- costs and spreads

- broker headquarter location and regulation

- retail investor account types and customer support

- available financial instruments

- which trading strategies are accepted

- bonuses, promotions and rebates

Online trading platforms and mobile platforms

Leading Forex brokers typically offer their customers a range of platforms to trade currency pairs on the foreign exchange market (FX), CFDs, shares, commodities, cryptocurrencies and other complex instruments. The interface used by all Forex brokers to execute trades differs from each other. Some online brokers offer a proprietary trading platform or allow for access to leading third-party platforms such as MetaTrader 4 (MT4), MetaTrader 5 (MT5) or the cTrader platform.

The best brokers offer trading platforms that are available for the most common operating systems and devices. These platforms should be available for download on desktop as well as a web-based version and further allow mobile trading. Most of the time, mobile apps for Android and iOS are available, but it is vital to check device-compatibility before signing up with a provider.

Define your requirements first

To find the best trading platform, a trader must first determine what he is looking for. While some professional traders are primarily dependent on a large selection of available technical analysis tools, other active traders value the simplest possible programming language to adapt the platform to their own needs optimally. If you are a day trader that needs certain advanced indicators, drawing tools, or order types, make sure to check if they are available. User-friendliness and appearance can also be crucial criteria for the best suitable trading platform and trading experience.

Of course, it should also be noted that not all trading platforms and trading apps are capable of support trading of every available financial instrument. For example, MetaTrader 4 was built to trade Forex and CFDs. Stock trading as well as options and futures trading, however, is not possible with the popular MT4. Those financial instruments can, on the other hand, be traded with the younger MT5, IRESS Trader, xStation 5 and other platforms.

Make sure you understand that the platform you choose is capable of supporting the financial instruments you are looking to trade!

Costs and spreads

Trading costs can differ a lot between providers and this is one of the most crucial factors for any type of trader. These costs can come in form of spreads, commissions, overnight or other types of financing fees.

It is essential to look behind the language brokers use nowadays because, at first glance, almost all brokers appear to be amazing. For example, when brokers advertise "commission-free" trading, it merely means that you do not pay any extra commissions. But, of course, it doesn't mean that you can trade there for free. Very often, it doesn't even translate into low-cost trading! Commission-free trading typical means that spreads are wider than with a broker that charges commissions because this is how the broker makes money.

Broker headquarter location and regulation

Making sure that a brokerage is licensed and regulated is a necessity. But is it a seal of quality and importance if a broker is licensed and regulated with certain industry watchdogs?

For many inexperienced traders who want to enter the world of online trading, the answer is probably "yes", and they believe that the lack of one of these licenses means that the broker is working illegally. However, this is not the case for the foreign exchange market as it is an OTC (free market) market for which no specific rules apply.

There are several regulators and industry watchdogs, but they only apply to one particular jurisdiction and do not apply to the industry as a whole at the global level. Unlike laws, regulations are not written by legislators, but by bureaucrats on the basis of their understanding of what the market needs to function as smoothly as possible. This means that the rules are never fixed and are applicable to the entire foreign exchange market. Instead, they are flexible and can change at any time, contrary to the legal requirements.

European brokers are typically regulated by the FCA (UK) or CySEC (Cyprus). Additionally, they are also licensed by local entities, such as the BaFin in Germany for example, if they operate further offices in Europe as well. In addition to the FCA and CySEC, there are other reliable regulatory authorities with strict rules and adequate consumer protection. These include the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) of Australia, the National Futures Association (NFA) of the USA and the Financial Services Board (FSA) of South Africa.

Account types and customer service

When it comes to customer support and the services offered by online brokers, we find huge differences between providers. It is always important being able to reach helpful and professional staff when we have specific, trading or product-related questions. It is even more important being able to speak to someone, should issues arise. Most brokers offer support through various means such as phone, live chat and email. Some offered alternative solutions as well, such as WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, and so forth. It's vital being able to get hold of someone immediately and, being a bit old-fashioned, we believe that a phone conversation is still the best solution. Therefore, make sure that the company you are dealing with is offering at least one "live solution" and that they are available 24/5 or, even better, 24/7.


Looking at the various trading account types a broker offers, the most important aspect is to select one option that suits your trading style and trading frequency. ECN-brokers are typically a little more expensive than those brokers that act as a market maker. However, they are the ones that allow all types of trading styles and are ideal and more cost-effective for high-frequency traders, day traders and scalpers. Minimum deposits and available deposit methods are other factors that need to be kept in mind. This is especially true if you are new to trading, and if you only want to get started with a smaller investment. In this relation, it is also advisable to select a broker that offers a free demo account version. Demo accounts are a great way to start your journey with a new provider for testing trading conditions in real-time. Even expert traders choose demo accounts before jumping on a new trading platform and start trading with real cash. They often back-test trading strategies before implementing them in real-world trading to see if they can work.


The opportunities for further training exert a similar influence on the decision in favour of a provider. If you would like to be successful with shares, you would, of course also want to continue your education and close gaps in knowledge. This works well, for example, through webinars or seminars in which users can participate. Check brokers offers in regards to training materials such as tutorials, workshops, webinars and one-on-one coaching sessions.


The demo account is not simply a nice addition. It has an essential importance for the testing of new strategies and should be available indefinitely. Training opportunities are also an important factor in deciding for or against a provider. Especially for stock trading, numerous free sample portfolios can be used. Providers that offer ongoing educational support are generally considered more trustworthy if there is no intention to sell behind them.

Available financial instruments

Of course, it is essential that you know beforehand which financial products you wish to trade before signing up with a provider.


Available stock markets naturally play a particularly important role when it comes to trading stocks. Beginners in particular usually look around on the national stock exchanges and would like to have a large selection here. However, if you are thinking about acting internationally, you should also pay attention to what is on offer when looking for a platform. The more stock exchanges there are, the greater the supply, but also the danger of possibly getting bogged down. The own trading system should, therefore, be kept in mind during the search. The best trading platform for shares ideally offers access to national and international stock exchanges.


If you are looking to trade the foreign exchange market particularly, you should check if the broker provides those currency pairs you want to trade. Some companies offer a large selection of Forex pairs but only a few other instruments. If you wish to trade a number of commodities, metals, options, cryptocurrencies or invest in ETFs or investment funds, it is crucial to select a brokerage that offers those products. Costs can increase or decrease your returns immensely. We are not only speaking about spreads, trading costs or account maintenance fees here but also about share prices and the differences in buying and selling. Make sure you keep them in check as well.


Cryptocurrencies are getting increasingly popular nowadays, not only buying and holding them but also trading them in the OTC market. Most firms offer at least some of the top ten cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP (Ripple), Litecoin, Dash, TRON, Cardano, Stellar Lumens or BitcoinCash. If you want to trade more crypto CFDs than just Bitcoin, be sure to check what other digital assets are on offer with a broker.


The same goes without saying for all other assets. If you are interested in financial instruments from many asset classes, be sure to check if you can trade them. Check for ard and soft commodities, what type of ETFs or mutual funds or index funds are available, and if you can utilise the particular product, you are looking for.  

Which trading strategies are accepted?

Forex trading cannot always be profitable. Therefore, the use of a strategy that gives traders entry and exit points is essential to participate in any type of trading successfully. But it takes some time and effort to develop your strategy or to adapt an existing trading strategy to your own needs, trading style and account balance. There are other trading systems that many traders use nowadays. These strategies include scalping and if you are a scalper, you probably think that you only have to stick to it and nothing stands in the way of a long-term profitable trade. Well, a broker can stand in your way because not all brokers allow the use of certain trading techniques including scalping.


Day traders, scalpers, high-frequency traders and those that use hedging are generally welcome with ECN and STP brokers. Market maker brokers, on the other hand, do not allow some of these trading systems on their platforms. Be sure that the strategies you want to work with are accepted with the relevant provider.

Bonuses, promotions and rebates

If you want to be incentivised for your trading volume, deposits or win prizes by participating in various trading contests and tournaments, select a broker that offers these types of bonuses and promotions. There are many providers out there that offer rebates or cash-back when you trade larger volumes as well. We don't believe that bonuses, promotions and trading contests make a good broker. Often, it's quite the opposite, but we don't want to throw all providers into one big pot. Of course, it's always a good thing to win extra cash or have more funds to work with. However, be sure that you read the terms for any incentive on offer carefully before blindly accepting them.


Often, trading bonuses come with a lot of restrictions and unfavourable terms for the client. The last thing you want is having a bonus tied to your account that hinders you from withdrawing trading profits. Be sure you know how promotions are applied and how they work.

Who is the best broker for Europe?


If we purely look at brokers that are headquartered in Europe and leave the overseas competition aside, we find that XTB, or X-Trade Brokers, is the broker with the best platform. XTB ticks all boxes we just went through and impresses with a trading platform that is suitable for both novice and expert traders. xStation 5 offers a great selection of trading tools and can be used for trading of all sorts of financial instruments. Trading costs, spreads and commissions are all at a decent level and their professional customer support team is available 24/5 in multiple languages. The broker allows the usage of all common trading styles on their platform.


XTB was founded in 2002 and is a Warsaw, Poland, headquartered foreign exchange and CFD broker. The company is regulated and monitored by major supervisory authorities such as the British Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF), BaFin in Germany and the Capital Markets Board of Turkey (CMB). Client funds are held securely in segregated trust accounts with top-tier banks. XTB offers a choice between two different account types, which offer different advantages and functionalities. Customers can choose between a Standard and Pro account option and then use either the popular MT4 trading platform or the award-winning in-house xStation 5 for trading. There is no minimum deposit requirement on either the Standard or Pro Account. Traders can choose from a large selection of more than 3,000 financial instruments, such as currency pairs, commodities, indices, cryptos, stocks and ETFs.


With their xStation 5 the broker offers unique tools and features and impresses with its ultra-user-friendly functionality. Furthermore, the platform is characterised by speedy trading execution times of 85 milliseconds. Useful tools such as interactive and detailed charts, extensive trading history and technical analysis functions are integrated here. Also, xStation 5 can be installed on different mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones or even smartwatches as a mobile trading app.

Conclusion


There is a range of decent Forex brokers for European traders but please feel free to check out our comparison table and ranking above to help find the best Forex brokers that are best suited to your needs. If you need more in-depth information or are looking for more brokers to choose from, check out our detailed individual broker reviews and other comparison tables.