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Best United States Trading Brokers

US BrokersThe United States is home to one of the toughest financial regulatory environments in the world, which we consider both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, the tight regulations preserve the integrity of the local financial industry, protect consumers, and ensure fair trading opportunities for all market participants. On the other hand, the harsh regulatory climate, paired with the high capital requirements brokerage firms must meet to obtain authorization, has resulted in a mass exodus of brokers from the country. This reflects poorly on US traders, leaving them with a severely restricted choice of licensed trading sites.

With that in mind, trading in the US is mainly regulated by two governmental agencies. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) oversees the operations of stock exchanges in the country, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulates forex transactions, commodities, and futures. These bodies are assisted in performing their duties by two self-regulatory organizations, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the National Futures Association (NFA).

Licensed brokerage firms operating in the US can legally provide trading with stocks, indices, options, futures, exchange-traded funds, bonds, spot forex, and commodities, among several other financial instruments. US traders can leverage their spot forex and stock positions to gain greater market exposure but contracts for difference (CFDs) remain illegal in the country for the time being. Continue reading as we explore the financial regulatory climate in the US in further detail. But first, let’s have a look at the ten best brokers that accept US traders.
  • US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
  • US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
  • National Futures Association (NFA)
Forex Trading Leverage50:1
Stocks Leverage4:1
CFD LeverageN/A

The Best US Brokers

The Best US BrokersChoosing a reliable online broker that corresponds to your individual investment goals and requirements is crucial if you want to gain a competitive advantage while trading from the comfort of your surroundings. To assist you in making the right choice, TradingPedia evaluated all major online brokers authorized to transact with US traders.

We compared them side by side and tested their services against several key criteria, including trading costs, software and technology, range of tradable assets, and research and educational content. Using this methodology, we narrowed down the list to what we consider the ten best online brokers on the US market. Our selection includes brokerages that are suitable for a broad range of traders, from seasoned self-directed investors to rookies who are just starting their online trading journey.

Trading Regulations in the US

Trading Regulations in the USThe United States has the most developed economy on a global scale, with a gross domestic product of $25.46 trillion for 2022. The country is also home to the NASDAQ and the NYSE, the world’s largest stock exchanges in terms of market capitalization. Despite this, US traders often have a difficult time finding reliable online brokers as very few firms are authorized to legally service customers from the local market.

This shortage can be attributed to the hostile regulatory environment in the country. Financial services providers are subject to rigorous supervision and must meet extremely high minimum capital requirements to obtain operating licenses in the US. With that in mind, trading with stocks, spot currencies and commodities, futures, options, exchange-traded funds, and bonds is legal in the country. The provision of contracts for difference (CFDs) is prohibited under the US financial legislation due to the high risk these speculative instruments entail.

Forex Trading Regulations in the US

Forex Trading Regulation in the USThe Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is the primary regulatory agency that monitors the commodities markets in the United States, and this includes foreign exchange transactions. The Commodity Exchange Act granted the federal agency supervisory powers over all financial transactions that involve over-the-counter foreign currency options and futures. The agency’s regulatory responsibilities broadened further after the Dodd-Frank Act passed into law in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis.

The CFTC established the National Futures Association (NFA) in 1981 and tasked it with the registration of all companies and persons that want to conduct business with derivative instruments in the country. The self-regulatory agency observes for compliance and takes disciplinary action against registered firms and individuals that violate the law. It safeguards the interests of local investors and helps maintain the integrity of the US derivative markets. The entity additionally provides arbitration services to registered brokers and local investors, assisting them in resolving forex and futures-related disputes.

The NFA defines retail customers as all persons whose cumulative assets are valued at less than $10 million. OTC foreign exchange transactions can be offered only by registered entities, including US-based banks, financial holdings companies, futures commission merchants (FCMs), and retail foreign exchange dealers (RFEDs). These entities must receive authorization from the CFTC and the NFA before they can legally transact with customers from the US market.

NFA-registered brokers must provide customers with standardized risk disclosures that inform them about the risks associated with foreign exchange trading. Said risk disclosures must additionally include information about the percentage of profitable and unprofitable customer accounts during the respective quarter.

If a broker-dealer establishes that an individual customer lacks the necessary expertise and experience to trade forex, it must provide additional information that allows the client to adequately determine whether they should enter into forex transactions. With that said, registered broker-dealers cannot provide individual recommendations or trading advice to clients who are deemed unfit to trade forex.

The Dodd-Frank Act stipulates that forex broker-dealers must have $20 million or more in equity to receive operating licenses in the United States. These minimum capital requirements are significantly higher compared to other jurisdictions and forced many brokers to exit the US market after Dodd-Frank passed into law. As for the maximum leverage available to local forex traders, it is capped at 50:1 for major currency crosses and 20:1 for minor currency pairs.

Stocks Trading Regulations in the US

Stocks Trading Regulation in the USStock trading on US soil is regulated primarily by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The agency was established shortly after the collapse of the NYSE in the late 1920s, which marked the beginning of the Great Depression. The governmental agency monitors the operations of all securities exchanges in the country, safeguards the interest of investors, and works to prevent market manipulation.

SEC strives to ensure equal opportunities for all participants in the stock market and maintains a special database called EDGAR to this end. Abbreviated from Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval, EDGAR gives investors free access to invaluable financial information about all publicly traded companies in the US.

SEC also has the mandate to supervise the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), an independent regulatory body that oversees the operations of all securities companies authorized to conduct business in the country. FINRA is responsible for fostering market transparency, scrutinizing securities firms for compliance with the rules, and educating investors. The self-regulatory agency has the authority to take disciplinary action against violators, levy fines, and order compensation payments to qualifying investors. The independent agency collects regulatory fees from member securities firms rather than using taxpayer money.

Speaking of compensation, all stock brokers overseen by FINRA and SEC must apply for membership in the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. SIPC is similar to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) available to retail traders in the UK. It entitles all customers of FINRA-registered brokerages to compensation if the firms they are dealing with are forced into insolvency.

The maximum financial restitution under SIPC is capped at $500,000 per client and includes $250,000 in compensation for cash investments. Other than that, SIPC is not a regulatory body and as such, has no remit when it comes to investigating securities-related crimes or fraud.

Under the requirements of the SEC, each day trader that deals with securities such as stocks is expected to maintain a minimum equity balance of $25,000. The regulator defines the practice of day trading as opening or closing positions within the same trading day. An exception is made in cases where day trades constitute 6% or less of the overall trading transactions you conduct within this timeframe. Investors who fail to maintain the minimum required equity have their day trading activities suspended.

The maximum leverage available to day traders based in the US is capped at 4:1. For example, a day trader can open cumulative positions to the amount of $200,000 with a live balance of $50,000. Clients who maintain open positions overnight are restricted to maximum leverage of 2:1.

CFD Trading Regulations in the US

CFDs Trading Regulation in the USContracts for difference (CFDs) are a high-risk speculative instrument that enables traders to potentially profit solely from price fluctuations without purchasing any underlying assets. These derivatives involve leverage that allows you to gain greater exposure to the markets without actually putting up the full value of your open positions, at least not upfront. In essence, CFD traders borrow money from their brokers to inflate the size of their trades. They must return the borrowed capital if they exit their leveraged positions at a loss.

As you can probably tell, CFD trading involves a significant amount of risk, especially for inexperienced retail investors. CFDs are legal in many jurisdictions but the US is not one of them. Trading with this type of derivative is prohibited by the SEC and the CFTC. The primary reason behind the ban is that CFDs are traded over the counter, which means they do not go through authorized exchanges like the NYSE, for example.

This makes them less transparent and more difficult to regulate, not to mention they can cause unversed traders to quickly slip into debt when huge market swings occur. The interesting thing, though, is that the prohibition does not extend to cover even riskier derivatives like the so-called binary options. Also known as ‘yes-or-no propositions’ or ‘cash-or-nothing options’, binary options return fixed payouts if a trader manages to predict whether the value of a given asset will climb over or drop below a predetermined amount.

Binary options expire automatically and there is no further decision-making on behalf of the trader. Binary options trading involves an element of gambling and is illegal in many jurisdictions, including the UK, Belgium, Australia, Canada, and Israel. SEC advises against trading binary options at online platforms that lack official authorization from US regulators.

At the time of publication, only three entities are authorized to provide binary options on the local market. These include the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Cantor Futures Exchange, and the North American Derivatives Exchange. All other entities that offer this high-risk derivative to local traders are violating US law.

US Trading Regulations FAQ

1. What are regulatory fees?

US traders incur the so-called ‘regulatory’ fees on top of standard payment and trade-related commissions. These charges are imposed on all sell orders by SEC and FINRA and are clearly outlined on the websites of all locally regulated brokers. Brokers automatically deduct them from clients’ balances at the time of placing the sell orders.The main purpose of charging regulatory fees is to help offset the regulatory expenses of the securities watchdogs. The fees are imposed under the provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and do not apply to buy orders. They are percentage-based and depend on the volume of shares a trader sells.

2. Are US traders taxed on their profits?

Online trading profits are taxable in the United States, similarly to gambling winnings. The federal government distinguishes between long-term and short-term trading profits. The former are considered capital gains, while the latter are treated like income. The exact rates depend on the overall earnings you have generated during a given year. The taxes levied on capital gains, i.e. on long-term trading profits, range from 0% to 20%. Different brackets are in place for short-term income, with tax rates ranging from 10% to 37%, depending on your annual earnings.

3. Is spread betting legal in the US?

In the context of trading, spread betting is a practice that involves speculating on the direction the financial markets will take without purchasing any underlying assets. The term is derived from the spread, which corresponds to the difference between the ask and bid prices of an underlying asset. Similarly to CFDs, this type of derivative enables traders to implement leverage for the purpose of gaining greater exposure to the markets.Needless to say, spread betting entails a significant amount of risk and can result in devastating losses for uninformed traders. The practice originated in Chicago sometime in the 1940s. It was subsequently banned by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which deems it too risky for the general public. SEC treats spread betting as a form of online gambling, which is heavily regulated in the country on both state and federal levels.

4. Do US online brokers permit hedging?

Traders who implement the so-called hedging strategy simultaneously take two different positions on the same forex pair to reduce volatility and safeguard themselves from adverse market movements. They typically resort to this short-term technique when anticipating important economic events or news releases that could have a significant negative impact on market price fluctuations.Hedging enables them to cut down their losses from unsuccessful trades during periods of high market volatility. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission imposes restrictions on this practice because it is more advantageous to brokers than traders. Traders must cover the spread on two positions instead of one, which ultimately ends up costing them more money in the long term.

5. Are US traders entitled to compensation if their broker declares insolvency?

Yes, but only on condition they transact with brokerages authorized to legally operate in the country. Brokers regulated by SEC and FINRA must apply for membership in the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), a non-profit organization that has been protecting traders and their investments for more than half a century.Clients of SIPC-member brokers are entitled to a compensation of up to $500,000 for securities and cash investments per account be it individual, joint, or corporate. The compensation covers only certain financial instruments, including mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and certificates for deposit (CDs). Forex and commodity traders are not protected by SIPC to our knowledge. Additionally, US-regulated brokers store the money of their clients in segregated bank or custody accounts.

Funding and Withdrawing from US Trading Accounts

Funding and Withdrawing from US Trading AccountThe range of available payment methods generally depends on which US broker you sign up with. The most common options typically include cards, wire transfers, and checks, although some trading sites also work with globally available digital wallets like PayPal. Each payment method has its advantages and disadvantages when it comes to costs, transaction limits, and processing timeframes. We cover all these aspects in more detail below.

Depositing to US Trading Accounts

DepositingUS traders face a more limited choice of options when it comes to funding their live accounts, especially when compared to other jurisdictions like the UK. Most brokers operating in the country facilitate card deposits, with Visa, Maestro, American Express, and Mastercard being the most broadly supported card brands. Card deposits are typically instant and will cost you nothing but the minimum transferable amounts vary based on your broker. Some brokers like Fidelity have no minimum deposit requirements for card payments, while others impose minimums ranging from $10 to $250.

ACH (Automated Clearing House) and wire transfers are the most commonly available options for depositing traders from the US. While both methods allow users to move funds between banks, ACH transfers are slower because they must pass through an interbank network for verification before the payment goes through. By comparison, wire transfers are faster since the funds go directly from one bank account to another without passing through an intermediary network for verification. Domestic wire transfers are usually completed within the same business day but are associated with higher costs that are bank-specific.

Some US-friendly brokers like Fidelity and eToro accept deposits with digital wallets like PayPal. E-wallets are a great choice for traders who wish to move funds to their live balance without sharing any personal and banking information like card or bank account numbers, for instance. They must provide only their PayPal details to initiate a deposit. One drawback associated with PayPal is that it requires you to register upfront and then top up your e-wallet balance via a bank transfer or a card. Nonetheless, the trouble is well worth it as PayPal allows for secure and instant deposits without additional transaction costs.

Most US brokers accept electronic checks but mailing a check is also possible in some cases. The limits and processing fees are determined by your bank. Checks sent by mail are less time-efficient as they normally require 3 business days, sometimes even more. Additionally, you must notify your broker in advance when mailing your check. Deposits with electronic checks are faster – they normally go through within the same business day.
Common Deposit Methods Offered by US Brokers
Type of MethodUsual Limits per TransactionProcessing TimeframesProcessing Fees
Cards$0 to $250InstantFree
ACH Transfers$10 to $100Up to 4 business daysFree
Wire Transfers$10 to $5001 business day for domestic transfersDepends on your bank
E-Wallets$0 to $10InstantFree
Checks$0 to $101 to 3 business daysGenerally free

Withdrawing from US Trading Accounts

WithdrawingBy a rule of thumb, US brokers tend to return their clients’ withdrawals to the originating source of funding. Traders who wish to cash out their funds to a different payment method than the one they used for depositing are subjected to additional verification procedures. The withdrawal methods generally overlap with those available for deposits, paper checks being the only exception as they are rarely supported for cashing out.

Withdrawals to cards are possible in most cases and the minimum requested amount usually starts at $10. However, some brokers like IG do not impose minimum requirements on card withdrawals. Another benefit of using cards for this purpose results from the absence of extra processing fees. Most US-friendly brokers do not charge additionally when traders withdraw back to their cards.

US traders can also ask to have their funds returned via ACH or wire transfers, which usually take at least a couple of business days. ACH and wire transfer withdrawals rarity incur additional fees on the brokers’ side but the banks processing the payments may charge you extra. The minimum you can request via wire transfer is often higher and starts at $100, although the exact limits are broker-specific.

Some US-friendly trading sites like eToro and Fidelity facilitate withdrawals with PayPal. We recommend you opt for this e-wallet if your chosen broker supports it. PayPal withdrawals tend to take the least amount of time as the funds rarely reach you within more than a couple of days. Withdrawals with PayPal have lower minimum limits and are not associated with additional processing fees. Whichever method you choose, make sure it is registered in your own name, or else you will not pass the verification process.

Common Withdrawal Methods Offered by US Brokers
Type of MethodUsual Limits per TransactionProcessing TimeframesProcessing Fees
Cards$10 (no minimum at some US brokers)2 to 5 business daysFree
ACH Transfers$100.00Up to 5 business daysBank-specific
Wire Transfers$100.002 to 5 business daysBank-specific
E-Wallets$10.001 to 2 business daysFree

US Trading Platforms

US Trading PlatformsAfter testing all major brokers that operate legally on the US market, we established that most of them rely on proprietary software built from the ground up to satisfy the unique requirements of their customers. Each proprietary platform comes with bespoke features and specifications, so testing the software via a free paper trading account is highly recommended.

Most brokers facilitate direct in-browser trading via web platforms, allowing customers to access their accounts and manage their positions from any desktop or mobile device they choose. Others, like Zacks Trade, offer downloadable in-house software compatible with all major desktop operating systems like Microsoft Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

Third-party platforms are sometimes offered in conjunction with the proprietary software, with MetaTrader 4, ProRealTime, and TradingView ranking as the most commonly available options. Stay with us as we delve deeper into the specifics of each of the three popular third-party platforms.


ProRealTimeSome CFTC-authorized brokers, like IG, give US clients the option to use the popular third-party platform ProRealTime. This software is geared toward the needs of chartists and day traders looking to perform advanced technical analysis. ProRealTime accommodates them with powerful tools designed to make their decision-making process easier. Users can take advantage of more than 100 technical indicators that allow skilled analysts to adequately evaluate everything from volatility to potential price fluctuations.

Automatic trading is also possible with ProRealTime. Traders can create custom algorithms and use them to execute orders around the clock. You can also backtest new trading strategies before you implement them in the real markets. Additionally, users have access to real-time economic news and comprehensive trading reports. Trading from charts is supported as well.

Another advantage of using ProRealTime is that it enables you to place orders according to trend lines rather than relying on price movements only. The platform impresses with an efficient and intuitive interface that makes trading a breeze for both beginner and experienced traders. Given all this, it is unsurprising that the platform’s developers report over 87% of all ProRealTime users improve their overall trading performance.

MetaTrader 4

MetaTrader 5Designed by MetaQuotes, MetaTrader 4 (MT4) is the world’s leading platform for retail foreign exchange trading. The platform is free to download and use. Trading via the browser-based web version is also an option. Mobile apps compatible with Android 5.0 and iOS 11.0 are available on Google Play and the App Store as well. More than 750 brokerage firms rely on this platform at the time of publication, including US-friendly brokers like IG.

MT4 is a viable option for beginner and advanced traders alike as it pairs user-friendliness with useful functionalities that enable you to take full control of your trading experience. The platform is renowned for facilitating exhaustive technical analysis. Traders have access to 30 technical indicators that enable them to identify market trends and make more accurate predictions about future price movements.

The platform is also suitable for chartists as it allows them to open up to 99 charts simultaneously, according to MetaQuotes. As many as 31 graphical objects are available and users have the ability to execute trades with a single click of their mouse button. The supported timeframes start from one minute and go all the way up to a month. MetaQuotes recently updated the MT4 terminal to include an economic calendar to the benefit of users looking to perform adequate fundamental analysis.


TradingViewTradingView is regarded as one of the best charting platforms out there. It offers a comprehensive range of functionalities, including over 15 chart types, customizable timeframes, and more than 90 advanced drawing tools. It boasts an exhaustive database for technical analysis, with over a hundred prebuilt technical indicators and thousands of public indicators. Creating indicators that correspond to your individual needs is a breeze thanks to TradingView’s elegantly minimalist programming language, Pine Script.

Traders who opt for this platform will never miss out on the opportunity to profit from favorable market conditions as TradingView enables them to create configurable alerts based on indicators, prices, and strategies. Various prebuilt alert types are available, including crossing, entering and exit channels, greater-than, and greater-less alerts. Additionally, users can take advantage of special alerts for trend lines, arrows, info lines, and rays.

The platform doubles as a community whose members can exchange advice and discuss various trading strategies. It enables you to hone your skills with paper trading before you are confident enough to join the real market action with a live account at an affiliated broker. Speaking of which, some of the most prominent brokerages in the US work with TradingView, including Forex.com, Ally Invest, Oanda, and Alpaca.

US Trading FAQ

1. Can US traders do business with US-licensed brokers from abroad?

Traders who have moved abroad are usually not allowed to continue trading with US-registered brokerages. Many local firms are in the habit of freezing or completely closing down the accounts of expatriate customers if they have lost their status as US citizens. This practice has been adopted by major US financial services providers like Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Fidelity Investments. It would be best to contact your broker and inquire about their policies upfront if you plan on moving abroad.

2. Do dormant accounts with US brokers incur maintenance fees?

Not necessarily. Some of the brokerage firms recommended on this page have waived their maintenance fees on dormant accounts, with Robinhood and E*TRADE serving as prime examples. Others charge monthly inactivity fees on accounts that have remained dormant for prolonged periods, ranging from 12 to 24 months. The fees are automatically deducted from the available balance of inactive customers but the exact rates are broker-specific.

3. Are there any other fees I should know about before trading with US brokers?

US traders are commonly charged regulatory fees on their trades, which are deducted at the time of opening or closing a position. This is a standard practice among locally licensed brokers. The deducted funds go toward covering the regulatory expenses of financial watchdogs like FINRA and SEC. The exact regulatory fees are assessed at the time of order execution.

4. How can I tell if a broker is authorized to transact with clients from the US?

Locally authorized brokers are easy to spot as they publish their regulatory information in their websites’ footers. All you have to do is scroll down toward the bottom of the site’s homepage and look for the stamp of approval of the US financial regulators. Brokers that facilitate commodity and foreign exchange trades typically list the CFTC and the NFA as their regulators. Those that offer trading with stocks and other securities are authorized by the SEC and FINRA. All SEC licensees are also members of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

5. What is the maximum leverage available to US traders?

CFDs are illegal in the United States but traders can still leverage their positions when trading spot forex or investing in stocks. Forex traders can leverage their currency trades at a maximum ratio of 50:1 for major currency pairs like USD/EUR, GBP/USD, or USD/JPY. Minor currency pairs have a maximum leverage cap of 20:1. The ceiling on leverage for stock trading is 4:1 for day traders and 2:1 for customers whose stock positions remain open overnight.