Td ameritrade forex lot size

Td ameritrade forex lot size DEFAULT


Content intended for educational/informational purposes only. Not investment advice, or a recommendation of any security, strategy, or account type.

Forex trading involves leverage, carries a high level of risk and is not suitable for all investors. Please read the NFA booklet Trading Forex: What Investors Need to Know prior to trading forex products.

Forex accounts are not protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

Forex trading services provided by Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC. Trading privileges subject to review and approval. Not all clients will qualify. Forex accounts are not available to residents of Ohio or Arizona. Prior to a name change in September , Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC was known as TD Ameritrade Futures & Forex LLC.

Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC, a CFTC-registered Futures Commission Merchant and NFA Forex Dealer Member. Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC is a subsidiary of The Charles Schwab Corporation.

A forex dealer may be compensated via commission and/or mark-up on forex trades. Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC does not charge commission on forex transactions nor does it offer commission-based forex pairs. However, the cost of the trade is reflected in the bid/ask spread. Additional information may be found in its NFA and CFTC Disclosure Document.

The forex market is open from p.m. to p.m. daily, Sunday through Friday. Beginning at p.m., forex pairs may be opened at various intervals to ensure market liquidity. As part of routine daily maintenance, generally conducted between a.m. – a.m. and lasting approximately 2 minutes, the trading platform may not be available. Times referenced are Central Standard Time or Central Daylight Time, whichever is in effect. Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC utilizes JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A. as its forex prime broker. Liquidity providers are JP Morgan, Citadel Securities, XTX Markets, and Virtu Financial.

Forex trading exposes you to risk including, but not limited to, market volatility, volume, congestion, and system or component failures, which may delay account access and/or Forex trade executions. Prices can change quickly and there is no guarantee that the execution price of your order will be at or near the quote displayed at order entry (“slippage”). Account access delays and slippage can occur at any time but are most prevalent during periods of higher volatility, at market open or close, or due to the size and type of order.

This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business or where such offer or solicitation would be contrary to the local laws and regulations of that jurisdiction, including, but not limited to persons residing in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UK, and the countries of the European Union.

TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC, a subsidiary of The Charles Schwab Corporation. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. © Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. All rights reserved.


TD Ameritrade & Thinkorswim


Does anyone have a good reason for a US resident to [I]NOT[/I] use TD Ameritrade as their broker, and Thinkorswim as their platform?

Does TD Ameritrade offer demo trading on their accounts?


I believe thinkorswim does have paper trading, not sure if it’s just stocks or forex as well.

I also remember reading that you need a minimum $, deposit to open a forex account with TD, don’t quote me on this however.


ThinkOrSwim has paper trading on everything: stocks, options, futures, forex, etc.

Not that much. I was able to set up forex with TD ameritrade with only a few grand.


I use TD Ameritrade with Thinkorswim for forex and have not had an issue. The only thing I would say is that they don’t have the tightest spreads out there, but they are not bad either. One thing to keep in mind is that they don’t offer lot sizes smaller than a mini ( units). The smallest increment you can trade in is units and that is only on their commission model. You get tighter spreads with that model, but you pay commission of per units with a $1 minimum. So that can be pretty expensive for a small account depending on your trading style. I would avoid them if you plan on being a scalper or something like that. Their non-commission model doesn’t allow lot sizes smaller than 10, units and only allows increments of 10, units. The spreads are wider than the commission model, but since there is no commission, most of the time I find both models to come out close to the same. It basically comes down to account size and flexibility. If you want to trade smaller or in smaller increments, you will have to use the commission model. If you don’t mind trading larger and don’t need small increments, then the non commission model is better. I use the non-commission model personally. I love TOS and use it for stock trading as well so I was glad to not have to learn a new platform and I definitely prefer TOS to MT4, which of course they do not offer. Keep in mind, if you live in AZ or OH you will not be able to use TDA to trade Forex. That is what residents of those states have said in this forum at least. That being said, if you plan on paper trading first, be sure to get them to turn on live quotes on your platform. I think they are delayed be default.



how wide we talking on spreads? Cant be as bad as oanda…and is there any way to have instant execution or bridge MT4?


I know this is an old post, but how big is the spread difference with oand?


I use Oanda and their spreads don’t seem any different to other brokers I’ve used. Obviously they vary across pairs and at certain times, but so does everyone else I’ve used


That’s not the beef I have with Oanda. I don’t like their prices. They give me an average price on the chart, but when I put a trade, they execute with real bid and ask prices. I’ve missed entries and exits because of this. I’ve resorted to adding a few pips extra to my actual entries, exits and s/l, but this is cutting my profit a lot. Unfortunately, the forex landscape has diminished in the US.


You can change the screen view so it shows average or ask or bid price. Im not on my pc so can’t explain how to do it on a pc, but on a tablet I can change it here ( the blue shows icons ive clicked to get here )

1 Like


Thank you. I’m on mobile most of the time. The method you showed gives me a line chart. I just want a candle stick chart with bid prices.


@Themadinvestor is correct on everything he said. I’m a trader employed by TD and everything that he said is true. As for the spreads, it depends on the pair and time of day of course, but it’s usually no wider than 2 pips on average. Our provider is Gain.


I use TOS over 5 years and it’s very interesting platform with paper trading on currencies, futures, options and stocks. And I like it.


So how much would cost (in $) to trade mini lot(10K) on TD Ameritrade?


Now the situation is very bad with the registration of ThinkOrSwim for non-US residents. But as always, there was a way out. On the Reddit forum there is a topic on how to get this excellent platform to use for conducting technical analysis and stock selection using scanners. They also have a chat with support.

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TD Ameritrade Review

With $0 commissions on trades, top of the line educational programming, enhanced trading platforms and a user-friendly mobile app, TD Ameritrade offers a full-service brokerage experience that can cater to the needs of an investor just starting out as well as the requirements of an advanced day trader taking positions in a variety of asset classes. New investors in particular will find that TD Ameritrade is one of the best options given the educational content and overall ease of use.

Although Charles Schwab has acquired TD Ameritrade, TD Ameritrade is still functioning as a separate entity, so we will look at how it ranks as a standalone brokerage and help you decide whether it is a good fit for your investing needs.

TD Ameritrade was Investopedia's winner for Best Broker for Beginners, Best Broker for Mobile, and Best Broker for Customer Service in our Best Online Brokers Review.

Key Takeaways

  • TD Ameritrade earned our top spot as the best broker for beginners. 
  • TD Ameritrade offers a breadth and depth of education that is unparalleled in the industry. When it comes to educational programming for their customers, TD Ameritrade is at the top of its class. 
  • The trading experience is highly customizable on TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform, web-based platform, and mobile apps. 
  • TD Ameritrade’s investment selections are extensive. The online broker offers a full range of investment products, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, option contracts, and forex futures. TD Ameritrade also offers Bitcoin futures for investors looking for cryptocurrency exposure. 
  • Although TD Ameritrade offers one of the largest investment selections on the market, some competitors offer more cost-efficient alternatives. Additionally, TD Ameritrade does not offer fractional shares.

Who TD Ameritrade Is For

TD Ameritrade is one of the larger online brokers in the U.S., so it offers multiple platforms aimed at different levels of expertise. For passive and active investors, the web based and standard mobile app platforms are intuitive and easy to use. However, for casual traders and day traders, the robust thinkorswim platform is likely the best bet due to its extensive screening capabilities, charting tools, and advanced analytics. All in all, passive investors, active investors, casual traders, and day traders will all be impressed with TD Ameritrade’s range of trading platforms and overall offering.

  • Extensive educational programming for beginner investors

  • Well designed web platform and mobile applications

  • A range of trading platforms and investment selections for all types of investors and traders

  • TD Ameritrade does not offer fractional shares

  • Higher account fees and fund fees than competitors

  • Uninvested cash is not automatically swept into a money market fund

Pros Explained

  • Without a doubt, there is no better online broker to learn the basics of investing in the stock market than TD Ameritrade. TD Ameritrade offers a breadth and depth of education that is unparalleled in the industry, including an online digital magazine “tickertape”, a quarterly periodical “thinkmoney”, daily streaming live market commentary on the TD Ameritrade Network, in person instruction via live events, virtual learning experiences in online workshops, webcasts, courses, and instructional videos. 
  • TD Ameritrade’s user interface provides users with experiential, self-paced learning where content is fully integrated into the experience. The broker has put the user at the center of its designs, which promotes ease of use, and a seamless and personalized experience. 
  • Whether you are a passive investor or day trader, TD Ameritrade’s range of trading platforms positions the broker to be ideal for every investor. TD Ameritrade’s web-based and mobile platform promotes ease of use and simplicity, and the thinkorswim platform provides robust capabilities for experienced traders.

Cons Explained

  • Fractional shares allow investors with limited capital to add high-priced securities to their portfolio a little at a time. Unfortunately, TD Ameritrade does not offer fractional share purchases. This may not matter for much longer, however, as TD Ameritrade has been officially acquired by Charles Schwab. Charles Schwab does offer fractional shares, so this feature may migrate to existing TD Ameritrade customers as the two companies merge. 
  • While TD Ameritrade has an array of investment products, close competitors have more cost-efficient alternatives. Investors who use margin in their trading should also note that TD Ameritrade’s margin rates are not as competitive as some of the broker’s peers. 
  • Unlike some of its competitors, TD Ameritrade does not automatically sweep uninvested cash into a money market fund. However, the broker provides a choice to opt into the sweep program or hold cash in a FDIC protected account.


TD Ameritrade’s focus on the client experience has made its platforms seamless and easy to navigate. Using innovation to transform the individual client experience, TD Ameritrade puts the user at the center of the design and optimizes their individual experience. TD Ameritrade web, thinkorswim, and the mobile apps are all highly customizable based on the user’s unique interests. 

TD Ameritrade web includes a dock tool, which is a fully customizable dashboard. When screen size allows, it appears on the right side of the screen and remains persistent as users navigate through the site on the left. Users can generally choose between 13 unique modules to view. Modules include account balances, streaming watch lists, bookmarks, streaming news and events, video, streaming trending on Twitter, streaming Yahoo Finance headlines, streaming RSS feeds, and more. Once you add modules to your dock, you can rearrange the module order and size. You can also filter most of the modules to drill down into the information that you are most interested in. 

Logging into TD Ameritrade is a breeze on any of the four platforms (web, mobile, thinkorswim, thinkorswim mobile). It is also easy to navigate between the different views on the web-based platform and the standard mobile app. On the app, you are greeted with your positions and account balance in a simple one-page experience that makes checking in on the market and your account simple and efficient. 

To find news on the web-based platform you simply navigate to the news section. On the standard app, you can scroll down on your dashboard and easily see general market news as well as news on your specific positions. All in all, both the web-based and standard mobile app platforms are easy to use and manageable for investors just starting out. 

For active investors who want more information about markets such as earnings, dividends, analyst ratings, upcoming initial public offerings (IPOs), the web and mobile platforms are simple to navigate. Simply type in a ticker you want to look at and have news, ratings, charts, and all kinds of fundamental information at your fingertips.

Trade Experience

Trading on the web platform is quite straightforward, as users can seamlessly type in their ticker symbol and enter their orders. With the exception of fixed income, both the mobile app and web platforms offer the same asset classes and support the same type of orders, including stop-limit orders. Moreover, all platforms allow users to stage orders for later entry, while thinkorswim and TD Ameritrade web enables conditional orders which allows users to set triggers based on price movements.

In general, selecting a good stock or mutual fund to invest in isn’t always easy, especially for beginners. Oftentimes, the selection process can be overwhelming for new investors simply because of the sheer volume of companies available. Fortunately, TD Ameritrade offers stock screeners on their web platform that can be found under the research and ideas section. Users can create their own screens with a wide variety of parameters like sector, industry, market capitalization, and much more. Although the screeners on the website are pretty easy to make, its layout can be confusing for a beginner. 

TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim is an extremely robust trading platform within the brokers overall platform that is geared towards experienced traders. Although the web platform allows you to draw trendlines, add indicators, and do basic technical analysis, thinkorswim goes far beyond this toolset. The thinkorswim downloadable platform can be customized to a trader’s preferences and offers the full suite of analysis tools across asset classes, including options and derivatives. There is also a trading simulator and the ability for traders to create their own tools using the thinkScript programming language. As far as trading, charting, and analysis are concerned, TD Ameritrade’s mobile app and the website do not compare to the depth and breadth of thinkorswim. Thinkorswim is essentially a broker-provided trading engine and, for this reason, serious traders will primarily use the thinkorswim desktop platform for position analysis and entry. 

Mobile Trade Experience

If you choose TD Ameritrade as your online broker, you will find that trading in the regular mobile app is even easier than the web. On the top right of the user’s screen is a large green “trade” button. Entering a symbol and trading is very simplistic but effective. TD Ameritrade mobile has watchlists, and it streams real-time data. Despite the fact that the mobile app does not support the capability to draw on charts, users can seamlessly trade directly from the charts.

With all of this in mind, the charts on the thinkorswim mobile app were better than the standard TD Ameritrade app by a considerable margin. The thinkorswim mobile app allows you to trade multi-leg options, customize charts, conduct position analysis, and much more. In fact, thinkorswim mobile is very similar to the downloadable platform, marking it an easy transition for traders moving between the two.

Range of Offerings

TD Ameritrade clients can trade a wide variety of assets on the web platform as well as the mobile apps. This includes exchanged-traded funds (ETFs), stocks, options, futures, and cryptocurrency. One notable limitation is that TD does not offer fractional shares or international bonds, and the mobile app does not support fixed income purchases. Beyond that, investors using TD Ameritrade can access:

  • Stocks long and short.
  • Mutual funds (11, totat; 4, no transaction fee; 5, carry a front or back end load).
  • Bonds: corporate, municipal, Treasury, and CDs.
  • Futures/commodities. 
  • Single and multi-leg option contracts.
  • Bitcoin futures.
  • Foreign exchange (73 currency pairs).
  • OTCBB (penny stocks).
  • Robo-advisor integrated into the online brokerage platform.

Order Types

TD Ameritrade clients can enter a wide range of order types on all of their platforms. While all of the broker’s platforms enable stop limit orders and trailing stops, only the thinkorswim platforms and the web platform allows conditional orders (for example, one-cancels-the-other) and entering multiple orders simultaneously. Investors also have the ability to select a specific tax lot when placing orders.

Trading Technology

With rapidly moving markets, fast execution is a top priority for investors. Order routing is the process by which an order goes from the end user to an exchange. An order may go directly to the exchange from the customer or it may go first to a broker who then routes the order to the exchange. As a result, the method by which a broker routes your orders will determine the likelihood of receiving the best price at the time your trade order is placed. This is known as price improvement. 

TD Ameritrade uses proprietary order routing technology and clients can also direct route orders to specific options and equities exchanges. The majority of TD Ameritrade’s orders are spray-routed, enabling trade orders to be executed within seconds on average. According to TD Ameritrade, their execution quality metrics cover market order sizes 1 to 1, shares, which comprises over 90% of their client order sizes. The broker touts a price improvement to their clients of $ per share, on average, and this price improvement proves to be consistent, covering % of orders.

TD Ameritrade is one of the few brokers that offer backtesting, which is the evaluation of a particular trading strategy using historical data. Traders who wish to use this feature can do so in a variety of ways, as thinkorswim backtesting can be done using thinkscript, strategies, ondemand, or thinkback. Investors can also automate trading strategies by which orders can be set to automatically trigger off a set of conditions.


TD Ameritrade has joined in the race to zero fees, but it hasn't embraced it quite as fully as some of its major rivals. For the most part, however, the broker is in line with the industry.

  • TD Ameritrade charges no commissions for online equity or ETF trades.
  • OTCBB trades incur a commission of $/transaction—most other brokers have made these trades free.
  • There is no per-leg commission on options trades. Per-contract commissions are $ Fees are waived for contracts priced at $ or less. VIP option customers are able to privately negotiate discounted commissions based on volume.
  • An order for 50 options contracts is $
  • Covered call trade of shares plus five contracts would cost $
  • Mutual fund commission for funds outside the No Transaction Fee program is $ 
  • Fixed income is sold on a "net yield" basis, which means TD Ameritrade is marking the price of the bond up for a purchase or down for a sale. The fee you'll pay is not transparent.
  • Most orders incur exchange fees, which are typically fractions of a penny per share or contract, which TD Ameritrade absorbs rather than passing them through to its customers.
  • Margin interest ranges from % for $10, balance to % for over $, as of May. This is about 1–% higher than its primary competitors. High-net-worth account holders are able to negotiate lower margin rates based on account size.
  • Futures transaction fees are $ per contract per side plus exchange fees.
  • Forex currency pairs are traded in increments of 10, units and there is no commission. The cost of the trade is reflected in the spread and TD Ameritrade is compensated by its liquidity provider based on the volume.
  • No fees for inactivity.
  • Transferring part of an account incurs no charge. Transferring an entire account is $
  • Sending a wire is $ Sending a paper check is free, though there is a $15 overnight mail fee if the client requests it.
  • Voluntary reorganization fee for corporate actions is $
  • Paper statements incur a $2 handling fee for accounts with low balances. Trade confirmations are free.
  • Live broker fee is $25 per trade across asset classes. 

How This Broker Makes Money From You and for You

The race to zero fees has increased competitive pressure in the asset management industry and changed the business model for many online brokers. However, $0 commissions does not mean that everything is free, as brokers can still make money from you (and for you) in less obvious ways. 

  • Interest on cash: TD Ameritrade clients do not earn any interest on cash held in their accounts by default. You have to opt into TD Ameritrade’s cash sweep program to earn interest on idle cash. This can be perceived as a slight disadvantage since there are competitors who automatically enroll clients into a cash sweep program. 
  • Payment for order flow: It is common for brokers to generate revenue by directing trade orders to different parties known as market makers. On average, TD Ameritrade accepts $ per share on equity orders and $ per option contract. Some competing brokers like Vanguard and Fidelity do not accept payment for order flow on equities.
  • Stock loan programs: Although TD Ameritrade clients can participate in a stock loan program, they do not have the ability to choose which stock can be loaned. Stock loan programs generate revenue for brokers who are usually providing the loaned shares to traders and hedge funds shorting the stock.
  • Price improvement: TD Ameritrade reports that their net price improvement per share is $ on average for orders sized between 1 and 1, shares. Additionally, this price improvement proves to be consistent, covering % of orders. As far as options orders, TD Ameritrade does not disclose net price improvement. 
  • Portfolio Margin: Qualified investors who have a portfolio value of $, or more may qualify for portfolio margining, which can increase their buying power significantly compared to standard margin accounts. The goal of portfolio margining is to set margin requirements that reflect net risk, which may allow clients to benefit from lower margin requirements and more effective use of capital.

Account and Research Amenities

As is expected of the larger brokers, TD Ameritrade comes loaded with account and research amenities.

Stock Screeners

Although TD Ameritrade has 25 predefined stock screens built into the screener, clients can create their own screens using a wide variety of parameters like sector, fundamental metrics, technical indicators, valuation, performance, and much more. Though the web platform is powerful, the best tool for performing screens is the thinkorswim desktop platform as its scan capabilities are extremely robust compared to the website and caters to the experienced trader who has used similar programs in the past. 

ETF and Mutual Fund Screeners

Similar to the stock screener, the ETF and mutual fund screeners have various predefined screens with similar in-depth criteria. For instance, the Morningstar category alone gives you the ability to select from nearly fund categories, ranging from large growth funds to alternative investment funds such as real estate. There are even funds for investors who desire exposure to specific regions or strategies. TD Ameritrade saves the last five customized screens for future use and gives you the ability to turn them into a watchlist.

Options Screeners

TD Ameritrade offers an option-specific screener as well as a strategy builder. Thinkorswim is a great platform to utilize to find investment opportunities. With tools such as Options Hacker and Spread Hacker, you can search for simple and complex options strategies such as covered calls, iron condors, iron butterflies, verticals, diagonals, double diagonals, and so forth. Moreover, you will be able to stream real-time data based on criteria of your preference, including volatility levels, time to expiration, probability of profit, delta, spread price, maximum risk, etc.

Fixed Income Screeners

As a TD Ameritrade customer, you will also have access to a bond screening tool. The Bond Wizard will allow you to search for individual bonds and CDs, as well as build a bond ladder. You will also have the ability to choose from a selection of pre-packaged bond ladders and a five-year Monthly Income Portfolio.

Tools and Calculators

Similar to many other online brokers, TD Ameritrade offers a range of tools and calculators suitable for clients who are DIY investors. Using the web platform, you will find an Income Estimator to get a sense of the income investors can expect from a given portfolio over a 12 month period. Clients also have access to a Retirement Calculator, Portfolio Planner, Retirement Income Planning Worksheet, Required Minimum Distribution Calculator, (k) fee analysis tool, IRA selection tool, and a Contribution and Eligibility Calculator for Small Business Retirement Plans, all of which come in handy for prudent financial planning.

Trading Idea Generators

TD Ameritrade offers a wealth of market highlights and analyst reports from industry-recognized third parties, such as Dow Jones, Credit Suisse, and the Center for Financial Research and Analysis (CFRA). This robust library provides comprehensive stock research and recommendations on companies, industries, funds, and bonds to help clients make informed investing decisions and validate new trading ideas.


For no additional charge, TD Ameritrade offers a variety of third party news sources including real-time streaming news from the TD Ameritrade Network, Dow Jones, Benzinga, Midnight Trader, MarketWatch, numerous press release wires, TradersAudio live pit audio, CNBC Video, Benzinga Audio Squawk, Econoday calendar data and Wall Street Horizons. TD Ameritrade web also integrates past CNBC segments into the stock-specific news pages based on stocks mentioned in the segment, and provides streaming news and events via the dock. In addition to these news sources, the dock also provides access to WSJ, Barrons, and Yahoo Finance headlines. TD Ameritrade also delivers over hours of live broadcast trader focused content daily.

Third-Party Research

Although all of TD Ameritrade’s platforms offer free charts, the brokerage firm also offers daily market reports as well as fee-based research. TradeWise Advisors, Inc., TD Ameritrade's affiliated advisory service, offers option trade strategy recommendations directly to your inbox for $20 per month. In addition to the free Market Edge reports TD Ameritrade offers, you can choose to subscribe to two levels of premium Market Edge subscriptions. The first premium tier, at $ per month, offers real-time reports and commentary. The second tier, at $ per month, offers full access to Market Edge's platform: research, screeners, commentary, and tools.


Whether you’re a beginner investor or seasoned trader, you’ll find extremely robust and customizable charting capabilities using TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform, which is better than the standard web and mobile platforms by a considerable margin. The charting capabilities and customization on thinkorswim is extensive, enabling chart size, colors, studies, strategies and drawings to be customizable and can be saved, recalled, shared, and reprogrammed.

The web platform allows users to draw trendlines and add indicators, however, the trendlines are blurry and difficult to set up. The experience of viewing a chart on the mobile app when the phone was horizontal was also less than ideal. Since the tabs at the top of the app occupy most of the screen space this affects the size of the chart and its usability. Analyzing charts on the mobile app is more useful when the screen is vertical, which is the opposite of most other brokerage apps.

Dividend Reinvestment Program (DRIP)

TD Ameritrade enables clients to enroll in a dividend reinvestment program (DRIP) for dividend paying equities.

Cash Management

Although TD Ameritrade doesn’t automatically sweep cash into a money market fund, clients have the ability to opt into the cash sweep program to earn higher interest.

SRI/ESG Research Amenities

A growing number of investors today want to align their portfolios with their specific values or beliefs. Although all of TD Ameritrade’s platforms have screening capabilities, none are specific to environmental, social, governance (ESG) criteria or socially responsible investment (SRI) factors. This can be perceived as a disadvantage as investors are seeking both financial and social returns on their invested capital. 

Portfolio Analysis

Portfolio analysis is available via TD Ameritrade web, thinkorswim, as well as in Personalized, Selective and Essential Portfolios via the TD Ameritrade Portfolios App. Portfolio analysis is customizable and the broker offers the ability to aggregate your holdings from outside accounts for reporting and analysis purposes using Personalized Portfolios. Both realized and unrealized gains/losses are reported in real-time, as well as net deposits and withdrawals. Margin, buying power, and account balance data are also displayed in real-time. Moreover, you can attach trade notes before and after executing orders and maintain a trading journal within the platform.

Although investors cannot calculate the tax impact of future trades, capital gains reporting is available monthly and can be accessed directly from the website. In addition, TD Ameritrade offers enterprise integration of GainsKeeper, a third-party tax reporting service that helps determine the tax consequences of trades. GainsKeeper is integrated directly within their platform for all clients free of charge, regardless of activity or asset level.


TD Ameritrade offers a breadth and depth of education that is unparalleled in the industry. For beginner investors who want hands-on learning, paperMoney is the perfect tool. Essentially, paperMoney offers the thinkorswim experience as a stock simulator so investors can learn without putting any real money at risk. Although paperMoney is a great educational resource for new investors, experienced traders also stand to benefit from the platform by using virtual trading to test new strategies. 

In addition to hands-on learning, you can consume content across a variety of channels and content types. TD Ameritrade has coupled investing education with technology and innovation to curate content for investor’s specific needs, ensuring a seamless experience that caters to each individual. TD Ameritrade personalizes content recommendations, allowing the broker to provide unique content and experience recommendations to investors based on history, account holdings, or most viewed content from customers in a similar financial position. 

TD Ameritrade’s client centric education hub is available to all clients, regardless of experience or asset level. The education center houses an extensive library of content organized for ease of use and curated by topic, level, goals, and objectives. You are given access to on-demand videos, step-by-step tutorials, in-depth investing coaches, event opportunities, and much more.

Customer Service

  • TD Ameritrade has a telephone helpline that operates 24/7, with an average hold time of 43 seconds.
  • Clients can get trading and account support by phone, email, website, directly from the trading platform, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Ask Ted, the virtual client service agent, provides automated support by answering client's questions and directing them to content within the site.
  • TD Ameritrade also provides chat support through thinkorswim mobile where clients can chat live with a support associate without leaving the app.
  • TD Ameritrade clients can talk to a live broker, but fees may apply. Many of the reps staffing TD’s trading desk and answering client questions were either former professional floor traders and market makers themselves or were trained by such.
  • Clients have the ability to speak with TD Ameritrade financial advisors.
  • Chatbox capability is supported using Apple Business Chat, Facebook Messenger, Twitter Direct Messages, and in Asia via WeChat.

Security and Reliability

  • You can use 2 factor authentication for all of their platforms, as well as biometric fingerprint scanner and facial recognition.
  • TD Ameritrade provides each client $ million worth of protection for securities and $2 million of protection for cash through supplemental coverage provided by London insurers.
  • If you lose cash or securities from your account due to unauthorized activity, TD Ameritrade will reimburse you for the cash or shares of securities that were lost. 
  • TD Ameritrade has not reported any significant data breaches in the last four years.
  • Due to unprecedented volumes of activity, TD Ameritrade has encountered login issues across multiple TD Ameritrade platforms that impacted some clients’ ability to log in during  
  • On January 27th , TD-Ameritrade, along with several other brokerage firms, experienced intermittent downtime, with users struggling to log in, check their portfolios, or commit any trades. It is likely the downtime came as Gamestop stock ($GME) surged due to a market dislocation.


TD Ameritrade’s pricing structure and fees are very clear and transparent. For instance, the broker has a webpage dedicated to pricing, highlighting costs associated with brokerage fees, margin trading, and so on. Margin interest rates vary due to the base rate and the size of the debit balance. When setting base rates, TD Ameritrade considers indicators like commercially recognized interest rates, industry conditions related to credit, the availability of liquidity in the marketplace, and general market conditions. As of March 20, the current base rate is %.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), from to September , TD Ameritrade terminated its business relationship with independent investment advisers that it determined presented an unacceptable business, credit, operational, reputational, or regulatory risk to TD Ameritrade or its customers. Although it filed a number of suspicious activity reports relating to suspicious transactions of certain terminated advisers, TD Ameritrade failed to file reports on the suspicious transactions of a number of other terminated advisers. 

Although none of the advisors were employed by the brokerage firm, activities of the advisers in question, according to the SEC, included suspicious securities trading, questionable transfers to the adviser or entities affiliated with the adviser, and managing client assets at TD Ameritrade while the adviser was making potentially material false and misleading statements to a client. As a result, TD Ameritrade was fined $, for failing to report advisors’ suspicious activity in

Our Verdict

As is to be expected from the large online brokers, TD Ameritrade offers a wide range of assets, tools, and educational resources, combined with industry standard pricing, security, and reliability. The trading experience across platforms is relatively seamless, but active investors and traders will opt for the robust tools and capabilities of the thinkorswim trade engine. That being said, TD Ameritrade’s multiple platform offerings make trading and research more accessible for investors from all backgrounds and experience levels. 

For beginner investors, TD delivers a client-centric learning experience across multiple channels including TD Ameritrade Network, articles, videos, and courses. Similarly, newer investors will enjoy TD’s fully integrated platforms, as they are personalized, goal-driven, and intuitive. Traders and active investors will thoroughly enjoy the thinkorswim platform for its robust and in-depth capabilities. TD Ameritrade’s impending integration with Charles Schwab will hopefully keep the best of both industry giants, bringing fractional shares and other elements to the TD Ameritrade experience while preserving the excellent user-centered trading and education experience.


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In addition, every broker we surveyed was required to fill out an extensive survey about all aspects of its platform that we used in our testing. Many of the online brokers we evaluated provided us with in-person demonstrations of its platforms at our offices.

Our team of industry experts, led by Theresa W. Carey, conducted our reviews and developed this best-in-industry methodology for ranking online investing platforms for users at all levels. Click here to read our full methodology.

  1. How to Trade Forex
  2. Compare Forex Brokers
  3. Forex Margin Requirements by Broker

Want to jump straight to the answer? The best forex broker for most people is definitely FOREX.comor IG.

Forex trading is an advanced style of investing that involves buying and selling different currencies from around the world.

The forex market exploded following the Bretton Woods Agreement Act of Over $4 trillion is traded on the forex market each day and unlike the stock market, trades can be made 24 hours a day.

The forex market lacks the volatility of stocks. It takes a rare event to see a currency move more than a penny or 2 in a single day (think the British pound sterling following the Brexit vote in ).

Low volatility combined with high liquidity sounds like a good investment, right? If you’re a clever trader, you can make a lot of money in a short period of time trading on the forex market.


Size td lot ameritrade forex

Content intended for educational/informational purposes only. Not investment advice, or a recommendation of any security, strategy, or account type.

Be sure to understand all risks involved with each strategy, including commission costs, before attempting to place any trade. Clients must consider all relevant risk factors, including their own personal financial situations, before trading.

Futures and futures options trading involves substantial risk and is not suitable for all investors. Please read the Risk Disclosure Statement prior to trading futures products.

Futures accounts are not protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

Futures and futures options trading services provided by Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC. Trading privileges subject to review and approval. Not all clients will qualify. Prior to a name change in September , Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC was known as TD Ameritrade Futures & Forex LLC.

Forex trading involves leverage, carries a high level of risk and is not suitable for all investors. Please read the NFA booklet Trading Forex: What Investors Need to Know prior to trading forex products.

Forex accounts are not protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

Forex trading services provided by Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC. Trading privileges subject to review and approval. Not all clients will qualify. Forex accounts are not available to residents of Ohio or Arizona. Prior to a name change in September , Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC was known as TD Ameritrade Futures & Forex LLC.

Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC, a CFTC-registered Futures Commission Merchant and NFA Forex Dealer Member. Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC is a subsidiary of The Charles Schwab Corporation.

The paperMoney software application is for educational purposes only. Successful virtual trading during one time period does not guarantee successful investing of actual funds during a later time period as market conditions change continuously.

Margin trading increases risk of loss and includes the possibility of a forced sale if account equity drops below required levels. Margin is not available in all account types. Margin trading privileges subject to TD Ameritrade review and approval. Carefully review the Margin Handbook and Margin Disclosure Document for more details. Please see our website or contact TD Ameritrade at for copies.   


Market volatility, volume, and system availability may delay account access and trade executions.

Past performance of a security or strategy does not guarantee future results or success.

Options are not suitable for all investors as the special risks inherent to options trading may expose investors to potentially rapid and substantial losses. Options trading subject to TD Ameritrade review and approval. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before investing in options.

Supporting documentation for any claims, comparisons, statistics, or other technical data will be supplied upon request.

This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business or where such offer or solicitation would be contrary to the local laws and regulations of that jurisdiction, including, but not limited to persons residing in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UK, and the countries of the European Union.

TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC, a subsidiary of The Charles Schwab Corporation. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. ©  Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. All rights reserved.

The PROBLEMS with TD Ameritrade's FOREX

TD Ameritrade Forex Review is committed to the highest ethical standards and reviews services independently. Advertiser Disclosure

October 20th,

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between % 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. This content is intended for information and educational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice or investment recommendation.

With over 70 currency pairs to trade alongside a plethora of tools, research, and education, TD Ameritrade's thinkorswim platform provides US-based forex traders the ultimate trading technology experience.

TD Ameritrade Logo
  • Minimum Deposit: $
  • Trust Score: 98
  • Tradeable Symbols (Total) : N/A

Top Takeaways for

Here are our top findings on TD Ameritrade:

  1. Founded in , TD Ameritrade is publicly traded (NASDAQ: AMTD) and regulated in five tier-1 jurisdictions, making it a safe broker (low-risk) for forex trading. Note: TD Ameritrade forex trading is only available to United States residents (excluding Ohio and Arizona).
  2. Thanks to TD Ameritrade's thinkorswim desktop and web trading platform, TD Ameritrade finished Best in Class (top 7) for Platforms and Tools, Mobile Trading, and Research and Trust Score. Our testing of thinkorswim left us so impressed that it won our award for Best Desktop Platform.
  3. Being a US-only forex offering, TD Ameritrade does not offer copy trading or MetaTrader (MT4). That said, currency ETFs and exchange-traded forex futures and options on forex futures help distinguish TD Ameritrade's forex offering.

Overall Summary

FeatureTD Ameritrade
Overall Stars
Trust Score98
Offering of Investments Stars
Commissions & Fees Stars
Platforms & Tools Stars
Research Stars
Mobile Trading Stars
Education4 Stars

Is TD Ameritrade FX Safe?

TD Ameritrade FX is considered low-risk, with an overall Trust Score of 98 out of TD Ameritrade FX is publicly-traded, does operate a bank, and is authorised by five tier-1 regulators (high trust), zero tier-2 regulators (average trust), and zero tier-3 regulators (low trust). TD Ameritrade FX is authorised by the following tier-1 regulators: Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), Securities Futures Commission (SFC), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Learn more about Trust Score.

Regulations Comparison

FeatureTD Ameritrade
Year Founded
Publicly Traded (Listed)Yes
Tier-1 Licenses5
Tier-2 Licenses0
Tier-3 Licenses0
Trust Score98

Offering of Investments

In addition to trading forex, TD Ameritrade supports exchange-traded forex instruments such as options and futures on various currencies, including the US Dollar Index. TD Ameritrade also offers interest rates, metals, grains, stock indices, energy, soft commodities, and livestock futures contracts, which provides traders the ability to execute orders on the CME, CBOT, NYMEX, COMEX, ICE US, and CFE. In , TD Ameritrade was Best in Class for its Platform and Tools, Research and Mobile Trading. TD Ameritrade (U.S. stock trading) also ranked No. 1 overall in our Annual Review, which covers the top U.S. equities trading firms.

Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin: For cryptocurrency trading, clients can trade Bitcoin futures or the exchange-traded Grayscale's Bitcoin Investment Trust (Ticker $GBTC). TD Ameritrade plans to make underlying cryptocurrency trading available to its clients through ErisX, a CFTC-regulated derivatives exchange and clearing organization (Note: TD Ameritrade is an investor in ErisX).


TD Ameritrade currency ETFsTD Ameritrade thinkorswim desktop platform forex carry chargesTD Ameritrade thinkorswim forex futures options

Offering Comparison

TD Ameritrade FX offering of investments:

FeatureTD Ameritrade
Forex TradingYes
CFD TradingNo
Tradeable Symbols (Total) N/A
Forex Pairs (Total)73
US Stock Trading (Non CFD)Yes
Int'l Stock Trading (Non CFD)Yes
Cryptocurrency (Physical)No
Cryptocurrency (CFD)No
Social Trading / Copy-TradingNo

Commissions and Fees

While its US stock-trading is at zero dollar commissions, TD Ameritrade's forex pricing is slightly higher than the global industry average, yet is comparable to US competitors such as OANDA and

Estimated carry costs: It's worth noting that TD Ameritrade provides a useful calculator tool that can help traders estimate their cost-of-carry for various currency pairs (positions held overnight). I also found it useful that TD Ameritrade's rollover costs are sortable in the thinkorswim platform, which helps you find carry-trade opportunities on specific currency pairs when holding trades past 5 pm ET.

Pricing: TD Ameritrade uses various Liquidity Providers (LPs) to handle its forex execution, after recently expanding its LPs to include JP Morgan, Citadel Securities, XTX Markets, HC Technologies, and Virtu Financial. As a result, forex trading is now offered 23 hours a day, with one hour from pm ET being suspended trading, which is usually the quietest time anyway due to rollovers period.

TD Ameritrade FX pricing summary:

FeatureTD Ameritrade
Minimum Deposit$
Average Spread EUR/USD - Standard pips (August )
All-in Cost EUR/USD - Active pips (August )
Active Trader or VIP DiscountsNo
Execution: Agency BrokerYes
Execution: Market MakerNo

Platforms and Tools

The backbone of the TD Ameritrade forex trading experience is the desktop-based trading platform thinkorswim, which is also available for the web. The desktop version of the thinkorswim platform takes time to learn; however, the lineup of tools are well worth the investment. In , TD Ameritrade won our award for best Desktop Platform, thanks to its thinkorswim platform.

thinkorswim (desktop) overview: Instead of grouping all products into the same area, thinkorswim desktop separates them into individual tabs, making trading streamlined and efficient. Under the Forex Trader module, rates are displayed for six currency pairs by default. You can choose from 73 different forex pairs to trade or analyze, and each pair lives in a module that can be further customized.

thinkorswim (desktop) charting: I was impressed to find technical indicators – by far the most in the industry. Furthermore, an additional 77 indicator-based strategies are available that will trigger a trading signal if conditions are met. Without question, technical analysis enthusiasts will quickly fall in love with the endless depth available in thinkorswim desktop charts.

thinkorswim (desktop) advanced features: In addition to automatically identifying 80 common chart patterns, there is an editor that enables users to create custom candlestick patterns. The thinkScripts tool lets you modify and create new technical indicators, similar in functionality to custom indicators on the MT4 platform or the Trading Station platform from FXCM.

thinkorswim (web) overview: TD Ameritrade recently introduced a web-based version of thinkorswim, which is much lighter than its desktop counterpart in terms of features and tools, but also easier to learn. For example, charts come with just 11 indicators compared to the hundreds found in the desktop version. Nonetheless, thinkorswim web has a good foundation for a new platform.

thinkorswim (web) features: While the full range of pre-defined watch lists are not available on the web-version of thinkorswim, custom watch lists automatically sync, so if you create a one on the desktop or mobile, it also appears on the web version.

Some advanced capabilities available in the web version of thinkorswim include trading options on forex futures, with four default strategies and custom multi-legged options trading supported. Besides forex, if you want to trade options on forex futures, TD Ameritrade provides simple and advanced tools on both the web and desktop versions.


TD Ameritrade FX trading platform:

FeatureTD Ameritrade
Virtual Trading (Demo)Yes
Proprietary PlatformYes
Desktop Platform (Windows)Yes
Web PlatformYes
Social Trading / Copy-TradingNo
MetaTrader 4 (MT4)No
MetaTrader 5 (MT5)No
Charting - Indicators / Studies (Total)
Charting - Drawing Tools (Total)23
Charting - Trade From ChartYes
Watchlists - Total Fields
Order Type - Trailing StopYes


While not built solely for forex trading, the thinkorswim platform from TD Ameritrade is complete with powerful research tools. TD Ameritrade finished Best in Class for Research in

Research overview: TD Ameritrade offers traders a variety of tools and data, including several advanced screeners. Alongside articles, coverage from live CNBC and the TD Ameritrade Network TV is also available. Finally, third-party data flows in from sources including Dow Jones, Thomson Reuters, Morningstar, and FXWirePro, among others.

Written articles: TD Ameritrade staff and third-party providers produce a large variety of market analysis covering technical and fundamental research for global asset classes, including forex. For example, there is a dedicated currencies section on the research section of TD Ameritrade's website, with articles from MarketWatch and related news headlines.

Third-party research aside, TD Ameritrade's Ticker Tape hub provides a Daily Market Update and Market Insights category. While these series cover the broader financial markets, I found the economic news category, which covers monetary policy, relevant for forex research.

Charting US economic data: One area I found fascinating and useful for fundamental research is the FRED data charting tool on thinkorswim desktop. TD Ameritrade’s FRED data tool includes an extensive library with current and historical data points such as US interest rates and global economic indicators.

Economic calendar: Beyond the basics typically found in an economic calendar, thinkorswim adds smart features such as the ability to filter the calendar based on various news events. Traders can even set alerts on upcoming events relevant to their portfolio. That said, the calendar is more optimized for stock trading, but I did find forex-related event headlines from Econoday, which are available in the desktop version of thinkorswim.

Social research: Numerous social features developed from in-house and third parties are found on the thinkorswim desktop platform. One highlight for me is the integrated chat rooms, which includes the forex dedicated Global FX Chat channel. Chat aside, the Social Signals service pulls insights from Twitter to help gauge sentiment by tracking the number of times a symbol is mentioned. This way, when you are looking at a chart, the social sentiment results are displayed as positive, neutral, or negative.


TD Ameritrade FX research:

FeatureTD Ameritrade
Daily Market CommentaryYes
Forex News (Top-Tier Sources)Yes
Weekly WebinarsNo
Trading Central (Recognia)No
Delkos ResearchNo
Social Sentiment - Currency PairsNo
Economic CalendarYes


There is an extensive array of educational material available from TD Ameritrade. Compared to peers, TD Ameritrade ranks well above the industry average in this category.

Learning Center and Ticker Tape portal: Under its Learning Center within the thinkorswim desktop platform, and within the Ticker Tape portal, there is an extensive array of content for forex traders. For example, from among over items (video and written content), there are at least 24 directly related to forex in the Learning Center library. I found it easy to navigate this library as there are drop-down menus to filter by category and sub-category, and progress tracking is enabled so you can track what you have learned along the way.

Many of TD Ameritrade's video materials are also available on its YouTube channel, including its Trader Talks Webcasts, which are archived webinars.

Written articles: There are nine articles within the Forex section in the Ticker Tape education hub, and an additional 40 articles covering advanced technical analysis, alongside hundreds of articles covering broader markets. I found the educational material to be of high quality. For example, one article on forex market volatility compares the use of the VIX and options on forex futures to find implied volatility ahead of geopolitical events like the US election.


TD Ameritrade FX education:

FeatureTD Ameritrade
Has Education - Forex or CFDsYes
Client WebinarsYes
Client Webinars (Archived)Yes
Videos - Beginner Trading VideosYes
Videos - Advanced Trading VideosYes
Investor Dictionary (Glossary)Yes
Tutorials/Guide (PDF or Interactive)Yes

Mobile Trading

TD Ameritrade's thinkorswim mobile app, available for iOS and Android devices, comes packed with an extensive selection of features. From complex order types and advanced charting with over indicators to creating custom watch lists, all elements are organized neatly in a modern, user-friendly platform design. In , TD Ameritrade was Best in Class in the mobile category for the fifth consecutive year.

Mobile research: In terms of research in the app, the same calendar experience from the desktop platform is present for filtering news events by symbol, watchlist, or account positions. This filtering helps ensures that traders will always view the news that is most relevant to their portfolios, including global economic indicator events.

Mobile charting: Charting is also robust, as the thinkorswim app includes over technical indicators that are easily insertable into charts. After adding a study to a chart, they become the default template when other charts are opened or when logging back in (i.e., they save automatically).

Mobile innovation: One advanced feature I found interesting is the Blast All order type. This order type allows you to put on a multi-legged position simultaneous across various symbols and could be useful for advanced strategies that include long and short positions. You can also require fingerprint authorization when placing trades, and not just when logging in. Finally, module linking can carry over from devices, so if you are viewing the EUR/USD pair on the desktop version, it appears highlighted in thinkorswim mobile.


TD Ameritrade FX mobile trading:

FeatureTD Ameritrade
Android AppYes
Apple iOS AppYes
Alerts - Basic FieldsYes
Watch ListYes
Watch List SyncingYes
Charting - Indicators / Studies
Charting - Draw TrendlinesYes
Charting - Trendlines MoveableNo
Charting - Multiple Time FramesYes
Charting - Drawings AutosaveYes
Forex CalendarYes

Final Thoughts

Overall, TD Ameritrade provides US residents a terrific trading platform that will satisfy even the pickiest of traders. The one drawback is that thinkorswim's tools are primarily for trading other asset classes such as equities and options, but this is merely a minor distraction. No question, TD Ameritrade offers a winning experience for US forex traders.

Note: this review focuses on TD Ameritrade's forex offering. For TD Ameritrade's stocks and options trading services, please see the TD Ameritrade review on our sister site,

About TD Ameritrade

Serving only US-based forex traders, TD Ameritrade is home to over million funded client accounts, with approximately $ trillion in customer assets as of its latest annual report filing. For forex specifically, TD Ameritrade has over 52, forex accounts as of Q2

Under its CFTC-regulated entity, TD Ameritrade Futures and Forex LLC, TD Ameritrade offers investors stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, options, futures, and forex trading. Publicly traded on the NASDAQ (AMTD), TD Ameritrade remains one of the few regulated brokerages to offer retail forex trading in the United States. Read more on Wikipedia.

Review Methodology

For our Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 27 international forex brokers over a three-month time period resulting in over 50, words of published research.

Each broker was graded on different variables, including our proprietary Trust Score algorithm. This innovative scoring system ranks the level of trustworthiness for each broker based on factors such as licenses, regulation and corporate structure (read about Trust Score here).

As part of our annual review process, all brokers had the opportunity to provide updates and key milestones and complete an in-depth data profile, which we hand-checked for accuracy.

Ultimately, our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .1% each year, providing site visitors with quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.

Forex Risk Disclaimer

"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 the Author

Steven Hatzakis

Steven Hatzakis Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1, published articles about the online finance industry. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level. Over the past 20 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.


Similar news:

What is Leverage in Forex Trading? Understanding Forex Margin

Here’s one difference: In the forex market, margin constitutes a good-faith deposit placed with a broker. For the most actively traded “major” currency pairs (such as EUR/USD, USD/CAD, and USD/JPY), the margin requirements are typically 2% to 5% of the “notional” value of the base currency (the base currency is always the first currency in the pair. In the case of EUR/USD, the euro would be the base currency; the second currency is referred to as the ‘quote’ currency).

A 2% margin requirement for a EUR/USD position, for example, provides leverage, meaning that for every dollar of margin, you’d control about $ If EUR/USD is trading at $, the total margin requirement for a standard lot position of , units would be $2,, which controls a total position value of $, ( x $, = $2,). 

Base vs. Quote

In forex, it’s important to track the base currency versus the quote currency because margin requirements are calculated using the base. According to Hickerson, even if the base currency isn’t the U.S. dollar, margin still needs to be converted to U.S. dollars. Why? Because the U.S. dollar is almighty in many ways, including in forex.

“Currency prices change every day, meaning margin requirements for forex positions may also change every day,” Hickerson said. “It’s important to understand that if the base currency is anything other than the U.S. dollar, the margin requirement is going to fluctuate on a real-time basis as the price of the base currency changes relative to the U.S. dollar.”

For example, if the margin requirement is 5% for GBP/USD, a position of 10, GBP/USD carries a margin requirement of British pounds. As the pound fluctuates against the U.S. dollar, the margin requirement for that position will also fluctuate. (If you’re a TD Ameritrade client trading forex on the thinkorswim platform, these margin calculations are automatically tracked for you.)

How Do Margin Calls Work in Forex Trading?

Margin calls are always a risk in margin trading—in any market. If a trade moves against you and your losses exceed the margin funds set aside, it can trigger a margin call, meaning your broker may require that additional money be deposited immediately.

According to Hickerson, forex margin call procedures vary depending on the broker. At TD Ameritrade, if the equity in a forex account falls to % or less of the required margin level as of 3 a.m. CT, all forex positions are automatically closed. In addition, if at any time the account equity falls to 25% or less of the required margin level, all forex positions are automatically closed.

Hickerson noted that margin requirements reflect volatility in the underlying currency pair, which in turn reflects geopolitics, economics, and other factors. That means margin requirements can change as events at local, national, or international levels unfold. For some less actively traded currency pairs linked to historically unstable countries (the so-called exotics), margin requirements may reach 20%. Hickerson cited Thailand’s baht as a recent example.

Forex trading can offer potential trading opportunities for both the short and long term. Fundamental factors such as economic data and interest rates across the world can affect exchange rates, so the forex market is in motion 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. But if you’re interested in participating, make sure you understand leverage in the forex market. For more on forex margin, watch the video below. 


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