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Best Futures Brokers of 2024

BrokerNotes.co

Written by BrokerNotes.co

March 14, 2024

What is a Futures Contract?

A futures contract is a legal agreement between two trading parties to buy and sell a financial instrument or asset at a pre-agreed price, but with physical exchange of the asset and payment between the dealer and trader occurring at a future date. The essence of agreeing on a price at which an asset will be delivered in the future is used as a hedging mechanism to protect the parties to the trade from any unforeseen circumstances which could affect the price of the asset in a manner which may be unfavourable to the buyer or seller of such an asset.

You can call a futures contract a "buy now, pay and exchange later" kind of contract. Futures contracts are usually concluded on the floors of trading exchanges. There are several exchanges all over the world where various categories of futures contracts are settled, for example, the Eurex Exchange and the CME Exchange.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74% and 89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Best Forex Brokers for Trading Futures

Here are the best forex brokers for trading futures.

  • IG
    - 9.9/10 Overall
  • Interactive Brokers - 9.9/10 Overall
  • Saxo - 9.7/10 Overall
  • CMC Markets - 9.6/10 Overall
  • FOREX.com
    - 9.4/10 Overall
  • TD Ameritrade - 9.3/10 Overall
  • City Index - 9.3/10 Overall
  • XTB - 9.1/10 Overall
  • eToro - 8.8/10 Overall
IG
9.9/10 Overall
Minimum Deposit£250.00
Tier-1 Licenses8
Tradeable Symbols (Total)19537

Year after year, IG has shown itself to be the best broker in the forex industry and a fantastic choice for forex traders. Highly trusted and regulated across the globe, IG delivers a wide variety of rich features, market research, and powerful trading tools. Fans of copy trading will appreciate IG’s seamless integration of trading signals into its web platform. Read full review

Apple iOS AppYes
Android AppNo
Proprietary PlatformYes
Desktop Platform (Windows)Yes
Web PlatformYes
MetaTrader 4 (MT4)Yes
MetaTrader 5 (MT5)No
Visit Site

Join 239,000+ traders worldwide.

(Trading forex carries a high level of risk.)

Interactive Brokers
9.9/10 Overall
Minimum Deposit$0
Tier-1 Licenses9
Tradeable Symbols (Total)8500

Interactive Brokers is a highly trusted broker regulated across the globe that delivers access to over 100 markets, including forex and CFDs. Its Trader Workstation (TWS) platform offers a variety of advanced trading tools for experienced traders, and IBKR's web-based platform is great for beginner forex traders.

Apple iOS AppYes
Android AppNo
Proprietary PlatformYes
Desktop Platform (Windows)Yes
Web PlatformYes
MetaTrader 4 (MT4)No
MetaTrader 5 (MT5)No
Saxo
9.7/10 Overall
Minimum Deposit$0
Tier-1 Licenses7
Tradeable Symbols (Total)70000

Saxo is a highly trusted broker that operates multiple banks and is regulated across the globe. Saxo delivers an incredible cross-platform experience alongside powerful research and a vast selection of more than 60,000 symbols across multiple asset classes. It’s worth noting that minimum deposits at Saxo are steep.

Apple iOS AppYes
Android AppNo
Proprietary PlatformYes
Desktop Platform (Windows)Yes
Web PlatformYes
MetaTrader 4 (MT4)No
MetaTrader 5 (MT5)No
CMC Markets
9.6/10 Overall
Minimum Deposit$0
Tier-1 Licenses5
Tradeable Symbols (Total)12074

CMC Markets is a highly trusted multi-asset broker regulated in multiple Tier-1 jurisdictions. CMC's powerful Next Generation trading platform for web and mobile delivers a huge selection of markets and a fantastic user experience. CMC Markets also ranks highly for its high-quality research and educational content.

Apple iOS AppYes
Android AppNo
Proprietary PlatformYes
Desktop Platform (Windows)Yes
Web PlatformYes
MetaTrader 4 (MT4)Yes
MetaTrader 5 (MT5)No
FOREX.com
9.4/10 Overall
Minimum Deposit$100
Tier-1 Licenses7
Tradeable Symbols (Total)5500

FOREX.com is a highly trusted brand with a long history of offering forex in the U.S. and across the globe. FOREX.com offers its own flagship trading platforms for web and desktop, as well as the full MetaTrader suite. Though its pricing is higher than average, FOREX.com is a balanced choice for traders of all experience levels.

Apple iOS AppYes
Android AppNo
Proprietary PlatformYes
Desktop Platform (Windows)Yes
Web PlatformYes
MetaTrader 4 (MT4)Yes
MetaTrader 5 (MT5)Yes
Visit Site

A Global Market Leader!

(Trading forex carries a high level of risk.)

TD Ameritrade
9.3/10 Overall
Minimum Deposit$0
Tier-1 Licenses5
Tradeable Symbols (Total)0

TD Ameritrade, part of financial conglomerate Charles Schwab, is a leader in platform technology and trusted by millions of investors globally with trillions in assets under its brands. Available exclusively to U.S. residents, TD Ameritrade's forex offering consists of just over 70 currency pairs, along with powerful research and trading tools.

Apple iOS AppYes
Android AppNo
Proprietary PlatformYes
Desktop Platform (Windows)Yes
Web PlatformYes
MetaTrader 4 (MT4)No
MetaTrader 5 (MT5)No
City Index
9.3/10 Overall
Minimum Deposit£100.00
Tier-1 Licenses7
Tradeable Symbols (Total)13500

City Index, part of StoneX Group, is an award-winning, highly trusted broker with a long history of offering forex and CFDs across its global offices. City Index delivers a well-designed mobile trading app and a powerful web platform, as well as a large range of tradeable markets (though pricing is just average).

Apple iOS AppYes
Android AppNo
Proprietary PlatformYes
Desktop Platform (Windows)Yes
Web PlatformYes
MetaTrader 4 (MT4)Yes
MetaTrader 5 (MT5)No
XTB
9.1/10 Overall
Minimum Deposit$0 info
Tier-1 Licenses2
Tradeable Symbols (Total)6100

XTB is a highly trusted brand with a proprietary platform (xStation 5) that delivers a rich selection of trading tools. XTB also offers CFDs for a wide range of asset classes, including multiple cryptocurrencies. Beginners will appreciate XTB's excellent educational content and the hundreds of lessons that are available via its Trading Academy.

Apple iOS AppYes
Android AppNo
Proprietary PlatformYes
Desktop Platform (Windows)Yes
Web PlatformYes
MetaTrader 4 (MT4)No
MetaTrader 5 (MT5)No
eToro
8.8/10 Overall
Minimum Deposit$10-$10,000
Tier-1 Licenses3
Tradeable Symbols (Total)3479

Best known for its copy trading platform suite, eToro is a highly trusted broker offering a large selection of cryptocurrency products, CFDs, shares, forex pairs, and a wide range of powerful trading tools. It’s worth noting that eToro is not a discount broker (though it offers zero-dollar commissions for U.S. stocks).

Apple iOS AppYes
Android AppNo
Proprietary PlatformYes
Desktop Platform (Windows)No
Web PlatformYes
MetaTrader 4 (MT4)No
MetaTrader 5 (MT5)No

History of Futures Contracts

Trading of futures contracts dates back several centuries. The Dojima rice exchange, where rice futures contracts were first traded in Japan, was opened in 1697 by the Samurai. At this time, the measure of wealth in Japan was rice, and those who had lots of it were the ones who had economic control of the Japanese empire. The Samurai represented the elite class of citizens in Japan and so establishing the Dojima rice exchange where rice could be traded was a means of ensuring continuity of the system of wealth control at the time.

New futures exchanges across key trade areas began to emerge by the 19th century. The formation of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) in 1848 ushered a new era in futures market trading. Most futures trading at the time was being done on agricultural commodities, and this was reflected in the CBOT where grains were the most traded commodity at the time the market took off. The latter half of the 19th century brought the birth of futures markets for coffee, cotton and produce, all in the United States.

Over the years, more futures trading markets have been born across the world. Today, there are futures trading markets for agricultural assets, metal assets, currencies and even bonds in Canada, UK, Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, Australia and the US. The market structure has changed tremendously too, as more assets are now traded as futures. In order to protect the integrity of the markets and the contracts traded therein, agencies were formed to provide regulatory oversight. The Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is the official regulatory agency for the futures markets in the US. There is a synergy between the CFTC and other regulators across the world to ensure that the futures markets remain transparent and that market confidence remains high.

Futures Contract Industry Facts

The CME Group offers the widest range of futures contracts in the world. The CME Group provides information about the leading futures and options contracts through its quarterly Leading Products Quarterly Report. The report for Q4 2016 shows the latest futures contract industry facts in terms of Average Daily Volume (ADV), percentage traded and open interest, on a quarter-on-quarter as well as a year-on-year basis.

Popular Types of Futures Contracts

What are the most popular futures contracts traded on the various futures exchanges? Traders can expect to encounter the following futures asset categories:

Currency futures: Currencies can be traded as futures assets. These are mostly setup in order to protect the buyers and sellers involved from future currency price fluctuations. Currency price fluctuations may make a deal more expensive to execute (for buyers) or cause sellers of a product to lose money. Agreeing on a currency price to execute a deal for the future ensures the protection of both parties in case the currency fluctuation makes it less desirable to execute such deals.

Agriculture futures: Again, the essence of setting up agricultural futures is to protect buyers and sellers of agricultural commodities from unforeseen circumstances. Weather, drought, product glut and other environmental factors can adversely affect prices of agricultural commodities. By setting up futures contracts, the price at which delivery of the commodity occurs in the future protects the buyers and sellers of such commodities from untoward events.

How to Read Futures Contract Specifications

What are contract specifications? Contract specifications can be described as the individual characteristics that each futures contract are composed of.

All futures contracts have the following contract specifications:

  • Trading screen name for the futures asset
  • Trading/contract symbol
  • Minimum contract size
  • Minimum units for trading and mlitiples of trading units
  • Currency that the asset is traded in
  • Trading price
  • Settlement price
  • Minimum price fluctuation
  • Expiration date for existing contract
  • Contract series
  • Business days

The crude oil futures asset will be used to demonstrate the interpretation of the contract specifications. Please note that a futures asset may have some specifications that are unique to it.

Differences between Futures and Options

Many people get confused by the concepts of futures and options. Most assets can be traded either as futures or as options. To fully understand the differences between futures and options, the definitions of both terms need to be looked at.

Options - An options contract gives the option holder the right but not the obligation to buy or sell the underlying asset within a certain time frame. This means that the holder of the option (i.e. the option buyer) can decide to allow the option to expire worthless if this will be a favourable route to take. No delivery of the actual product is involved.

Futures - A futures contract gives the buyer the right and the obligation to purchase a specified asset, and also gives the seller the right and the obligation to sell and deliver that asset at a specific future date, unless the holder's position is terminated before the expiration date set for the contract.

So what is the difference when trading an asset such as gold as a future or as an options asset?

Obligation: There is no obligation for an options holder to exercise the option by the expiration date. In contrast, there are obligations to both buyer and seller in a futures contract to fulfill the terms of their contract by the expiration date.

Delivery: Delivery of the asset is compulsory in a futures contract, but not so in an options contract.

Premiums: Apart from the regular commissions charged by brokers for trades in the futures and options markets, options trades require the payment of a premium, either from the dealer to the trader or from the trader to the dealer. Futures trades do not involve payment of premiums.

Contract sizes: Contract sizes are usually much larger for futures trades than for options. Therefore, the margin required for executing futures trades are much larger than for executing options trades.

How Profits are Made: Options allow the traders to make money in ways that are different from futures trades. Futures traders make money from the difference between the entry price and the expiry price of the asset. Options traders do not necessarily have to profit from the difference in prices (e.g. option sellers profit only from the premiums received).

CFDs Vs Futures: The Differences

What is the difference between a Contract-for-Difference and a Future? Several assets can be traded as CFDs and also as futures. A trader should at least know the basic differences between the two. The differences are listed here and an example is used of the crude oil asset to highlight these differences.

Delivery: CFD trading does not require the physical delivery of the asset being traded. The fact of physical delivery for futures trades has already been pointed out.

Futures contracts have less liquidity than CFDs. This is because CFD trades are usually performed with the brokers as the market makers, which ensures that there is always a counterparty for any CFD trade.

The commission structure of futures trades makes it cheaper for high volume traders to trade assets as futures contracts. Futures contracts are specifically structured to match high-volume, institutional-style traders. As such, there are high entry barriers in terms of margin and capital requirements, which make them inaccessible to smaller retail traders. Traders with smaller capital will find CFDs more accessible in terms of capital and margin requirements.

BrokerNotes.co 2023 Overall Rankings

To recap, here are our top forex brokers for 2023, sorted by Overall ranking.

Company Overall Rating Minimum Deposit Average Spread EUR/USD - Standard Trust Score Tradeable Symbols (Total) Read Review Visit Site
IG logoIG 9.9 £250.00 0.98 info 99 19537 IG Review Visit Site
Interactive Brokers logoInteractive Brokers 9.9 $0 0.63 info 99 8500 Interactive Brokers Review
Saxo logoSaxo 9.7 $0 1.1 info 99 70000 Saxo Review
CMC Markets logoCMC Markets 9.6 $0 0.61 info 99 12074 CMC Markets Review
FOREX.com logoFOREX.com 9.4 $100 1.4 info 99 5500 FOREX.com Review Visit Site
TD Ameritrade logoTD Ameritrade 9.3 $0 1.25 info 99 0 TD Ameritrade Review
City Index logoCity Index 9.3 £100.00 1.4 info 99 13500 City Index Review
XTB logoXTB 9.1 $0 info 1.00 info 96 6100 XTB Group Review
eToro logoeToro 8.8 $10-$10,000 1 info 90 3479 eToro Review
Swissquote logoSwissquote 8.8 $1000 N/A info 99 472 Swissquote Review
Capital.com logoCapital.com 8.7 $20 info 0.67 info 87 3007 Capital.com Review
AvaTrade logoAvaTrade 8.7 $100 0.92 info 94 1260 AvaTrade Review
Plus500 logoPlus500 8.6 €100 0.8 (August 2021) info 99 5500 info Plus500 Review
OANDA logoOANDA 8.5 $0 1.57 info 93 1744 info OANDA Review
FXCM logoFXCM 8.5 Starts from $50 0.74 info 95 440 FXCM Review
Admirals logoAdmirals 8.5 $100 0.8 info 93 8702 Admiral Markets Review
Pepperstone logoPepperstone 8.4 $200 0.77 info 95 2342 Pepperstone Review
XM Group logoXM Group 8.4 $5 1.6 info 88 1429 XM Group Review
FP Markets logoFP Markets 8.3 $100 AUD 1.1 info 87 10000 FP Markets Review
FxPro logoFxPro 8.1 $100 1.51 info 90 2249 FxPro Review
IC Markets logoIC Markets 8.1 $200 0.62 info 84 3583 IC Markets Review
Markets.com logoMarkets.com 8.1 $100 1.9 info 96 2179 Markets.com Review
Tickmill logoTickmill 8.1 $100 0.51 info 86 725 Tickmill Review
Fineco Bank logoFineco Bank 8.0 $0 N/A info 94 9770 Fineco Bank Review
BlackBull Markets logoBlackBull Markets 8.0 $0 0.827 info 77 26000 BlackBull Markets Review
Vantage logoVantage 8.0 $50 1.30 info 90 1000 Vantage Review
HYCM (Henyep Capital Markets) logoHYCM (Henyep Capital Markets) 7.9 $20 0.6 info 88 1199 HYCM Review
HFM logoHFM 7.9 $0 1.2 info 86 3500 HFM Review
ThinkMarkets logoThinkMarkets 7.8 $0 info 1.1 info 92 4000 ThinkMarkets Review
FlowBank logoFlowBank 7.7 $0 N/A info 80 408600 FlowBank Review
DooPrime logoDooPrime 7.8 $100 N/A info 83 10000 DooPrime Review
Trading 212 logoTrading 212 7.7 €10 1.9 info 79 8025 Trading 212 Review
BDSwiss logoBDSwiss 7.7 $10-$5000 info 1.6 info 76 1081 BDSwiss Review
Trade Nation logoTrade Nation 7.6 $0 0.6 85 601 Trade Nation Review
TMGM logoTMGM 7.6 $100 N/A info 83 12000 TMGM Review
Moneta Markets logoMoneta Markets 7.5 $50 1.27 info 72 1016 Moneta Markets Review
Eightcap logoEightcap 7.5 $100 1.0 info 85 736 Eightcap Review
MultiBank logoMultiBank 7.5 $50 N/A 84 1042
ACY Securities logoACY Securities 7.4 $50 1.2 info 75 2200 ACY Securities Review
RoboForex (RoboMarkets) logoRoboForex (RoboMarkets) 7.3 $100 1.4 info 71 12000 Roboforex (RoboMarkets) Review
VT Markets logoVT Markets 7.3 $100 1.2 info 70 1000 VT Markets Review
easyMarkets logoeasyMarkets 7.3 $50 0.9 info 80 199 easyMarkets Review
IronFX logoIronFX 7.2 $50 1.2 83 340 IronFX Review
Spreadex logoSpreadex 7.2 $0 0.81 info 71 10000 Spreadex Review
IFC Markets logoIFC Markets 7.2 $1 1.44 info 67 630 ATFX Review
Trade360 logoTrade360 7.2 $250 N/A info 76 1062 Trade360 Review
Octa logoOcta 7.2 $25 0.9 info 70 230 OctaFX Review
Axi logoAxi 7.1 $0 N/A info 81 175 Axitrader Review
TeleTrade logoTeleTrade 7.1 $100 N/A 71 500 Teletrade Review
GKFX logoGKFX 7.0 $0 N/A info 65 354 GKFX Review
Exness logoExness 7.0 $1 0.9 info 71 112 Exness Review
Vestle logoVestle 7.0 -1 N/A 78 750 Vestle Review
FXOpen logoFXOpen 7 $100 N/A info 80 87 FXOpen Review
FXPrimus logoFXPrimus 7.0 $100 N/A info 71 140 FXPrimus Review Visit Site
Forex4you logoForex4you 6.9 $0 N/A info 61 150 Forex4you Review
GBE brokers logoGBE brokers 6.8 $500 N/A info 71 500 GBE Brokers Review
Alpari logoAlpari 6.8 $20 N/A info 68 105 Alpari Review
TopFX logoTopFX 6.7 Depends on payment method N/A info 67 655 TopFX Review
Libertex (Forex Club) logoLibertex (Forex Club) 6.7 $10 N/A info 73 300 Libertex Review
LegacyFX logoLegacyFX 6.7 $500 N/A 67 425 LegacyFX Review
FXGT.com logoFXGT.com 6.6 $5 N/A 69 117 FXGT Review
ATFX logoATFX 6.5 $500 N/A info 73 150 ATFX Review
Xtrade logoXtrade 6.5 $250 N/A info 80 142 Xtrade Review

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At BrokerNotes.co, our data-driven online broker reviews are based on our own extensive testing of each broker's products and services as well as the qualified observations of our expert editorial team. In conjunction with our sister site, ForexBrokers.com, we’ve published well over 100,000 words of research and collected thousands of data points across hundreds of variables. Our online trading guides are created with the same rigorous, data-driven approach.

The online brokers on our site provide the ability to trade forex in one or more ways, such as non-deliverable spot forex (i.e., rolling spot contracts), contracts for difference (CFD), or other derivatives such as futures. The availability of specific markets or features will depend on your country of residence and the broker's applicable brand or entity that services your account(s). Our proprietary Trust Score rating system tracks data from over 100 regulatory jurisdictions to help forex traders understand the regulatory status of their forex broker and choose a broker that they can trust.

Our editorial team is led by Steven Hatzakis, an industry veteran with decades of experience and a deep understanding of the forex market. Our team conducts thorough testing on a wide range of brokers, platforms, products, technologies, third-party trading tools, and mobile apps. We also test for the availability of high-quality educational content, actionable market research resources, and the accessibility and capabilities of mobile platforms. All of our ratings and rankings are based on the collection and validation of thousands of data points and our in-depth product testing.

Part of our testing process involves in-depth research into commissions and fees. We dive into each broker’s trading costs, such as VIP rebates, inactivity fees, custody fees, bid/ask spreads (we always strive to determine the average spreads for each broker to better serve our readers), and a variety of other fee-based data points.

All websites and web-based platforms are tested using the latest version of the Google Chrome browser. Our Desktop PCs run Windows 11, and we use MacBook Pro laptops running the latest version of macOS to test trading on the go.

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All of the content on BrokerNotes.co is researched, fact-checked, and edited by members of our editorial team. Our ratings and rankings are driven by our independent data collection. We may use generative AI tools to assist in some of the rote aspects of our content production processes, but the substance of our content, as well as our opinions and evaluations are based on our extensive research and product testing. Read our Generative AI policy to learn more.

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There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. With respect to margin-based foreign exchange trading, off-exchange derivatives, and cryptocurrencies, there is considerable exposure to risk, including but not limited to, leverage, creditworthiness, limited regulatory protection and market volatility that may substantially affect the price, or liquidity of a currency or related instrument. It should not be assumed that the methods, techniques, or indicators presented in these products will be profitable, or that they will not result in losses. Learn more about foreign exchange risk.

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