What is The Minimum Deposit for Trading Forex?

What is The Minimum Deposit for Trading Forex?

In this article, I break down how much you need to deposit into your forex account to trade functionally, while also taking into account your account type, goals, and broker.

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The minimum deposit for trading forex will depend on the type of account you open, your broker, and how much capital you need to reach your goals.

A minimum deposit is how much capital you need to put into an account to begin trading. There’s often a broker minimum as well as a recommended minimum. For example, some brokers may let you deposit as little as $1, but you can’t functionally trade forex with only $1 with most account types.

Broker Minimum Deposits for Trading Forex

Forex brokers set a minimum deposit requirement on different account types. Here is a breakdown of common deposit minimums for the various trading account types, along with what those account types are.

Each broker may have slightly different initial deposit minimums. Check with your broker to see, but they will likely align with these figures. US dollars have been used; convert to your own currency if needed.

Nano Account: Minimum deposit $1 to $10

A nano account or “cent account” is not offered by most brokers. Nano accounts allow traders to trade 100 units of currency (called a nano lot). Typical accounts require trading currency in units of at least 1000 (called a micro lot).

Leverage allows a trader to deposit $1 to $100 and buy/sell 100 units of currency. On 100 units of currency, each pip of price movement is $0.01 (for EURUSD with a US dollar account).

Since online brokers don’t make much money on these types of accounts, spreads are generally bigger, or fees higher, than other types of accounts. These types of accounts are fine for starting out, but the poor trading conditions/high fees/spreads make it difficult to trade profitability over the long term. Once able, change the account type to one of the others discussed below.

Standard Account: Minimum Deposit $100

Standard accounts generally don’t charge any commissions, but you will pay a marked-up spread on each transaction. For example, the spread available in the actional market may be 0.1 pips, but your broker will post a spread of 1.6 pips. This is how the broker makes money.

Standard accounts also sometimes have restrictions such as not being able to post orders between the bid and ask prices (which create the spread) or within several pips of the current price. Because of this, many standard accounts are not ideal for day trading, but could be used for swing trading or investing.

Standard accounts generally require position sizes of 1000 units of currency or more. Each pip of movement equates to $0.10 (EURUSD with US dollar account) for each 1000 units traded.

STP or ECN Account: Minimum Deposit $100 to $1000

STP and ECN stand for straight-through-processing and electronic-communications-network respectively.

Spreads are generally lower, but the minimum deposit may be higher. $500 to $1000 is common, but some brokers may offer them with a $100 minimum deposit.

Trades must be made in 1000 units for currency or more.

STP accounts may charge a commission, but usually only paying the spread is required.

With ECN accounts, spreads are generally smaller, but a commission is paid on each trade. Commissions vary from $1 to $10 per 100,000 units of currency traded (prorated for the amount traded), depending on the broker.

VIP Accounts: $1,000 or more

VIP or Active Trader accounts provide the best trading conditions. Spreads are smaller than all other account types, and commissions are generally lower than normal ECN/STP accounts.

While the minimum deposit is higher, lower fees and tighter spreads make it easier to be profitable compared to the other account types.

Further reading

Minimum Forex Deposit for Reaching Goals

Brokers set forex deposit minimums based on account type. Generally, the minimum deposit starts at approximately $100 with most brokers, or equivalent in other currencies. The minimum deposit increases based on account type, with larger minimum deposits often required for the best trading conditions and lowest fees.

While these minimums set by brokers must be adhered to, each person must also decide how much capital to deposit based on their goals.

Consider a forex trader that has a trading strategy that can produce a 10% return per month. They wish to earn $2000 in income per month from their trading.

To reach this goal, a $20,000 account is required based on the return and income goal.

A trader able to make 20% per month would require a $10,000 account to make $2000.

A trader seeking a 5% monthly return to bring in $5000 monthly would need a $100,000 account. While a trade that can bring in 50% per month would require only a $10,000 account to earn $5000.

New traders likely won’t know how much they can make. Therefore, it is prudent to start out with a small deposit (based on your own income) to determine the types of returns that are possible over several months. This is the learning phase.

Once profitable for several months in a row, you’ll have a better idea of your expected returns. You can then begin increasing your account size—either through trading and keeping profits in the account, or through additional deposits—in order to reach your financial goals.

Further reading

Minimum Forex Deposits for Function and Risk-Controlled Trading

Forex requires trading a minimum set amount of currency. These are called nano, micro, mini, and standard lots. Each pip of movement creates a potential loss or profit.

Professional traders generally risk 1% or less of their account on each trade. New traders should risk less until they prove themselves profitable.

The rule of thumb is that you need at least 100x your average loss in the account, if risking 1% per trade. 200x your average loss if risking 0.5% of the account per trade.

See our Position Sizing Tool for calculating position size based on account risk.

Depositing $1 and trading a nano account risking 1% of the account per trade means a trader could only lose $0.01 per trade. That is equivalent to only one pip of movement. It is not functional. Assuming an average stop loss of five pips ($0.05), this trader would need to deposit at least $5, and ideally more. If they lose $0.05 on $5, they lose 1% of the account. If the account balance drops below $5, they are now risking more than 1% (assuming the stop loss stays at $0.05).

If your stop loss or average loss is 10 pips, and you trade a mini lot ($1 per pip), then you are risking $10 per trade. Your account should be $10 x 100 = $1000 at the absolute minimum.

If you trade micro lots ($0.10 per pip), with a 10 pip stop loss the minimum account size is $100 (($0.10 x 10 pips) x 100).

For a swing trader risking on average 30 pips per trade, with trading a nano lot the minimum account size is $30, trading a micro lot it is $300, trading a mini lot it is $3000, and trading a standard lot the recommended account minimum is $30,000. In all cases, a larger account is recommended than the minimum because if you experience a losing streak your balance could easily drop below the recommended minimum.

These all assume risking 1% of the account per trade. If someone only wanted to risk 0.5% of the account per trade then the account would need to be twice as big as the account balances discussed above (multiply average loss by 200).

Further reading

FAQs

Do forex minimum deposits vary based on payment method?

Forex brokers may assign different deposit minimums to different payment methods. For example, the minimum deposit may be higher when sending a wire transfer as opposed to using a credit card or debit card. Be aware of the account minimum and payment method minimum, as they may not be the same. You may be able to open an account for $100 with certain payment methods, but one deposit method may have a $500 minimum, for example.

Are there fees associated with making a forex deposit?

Most forex brokers don’t charge a fee for depositing into your account, but some may. You’ll need to check with your broker, as deposit fees cut into your usable capital. Most reputable brokers don’t charge a deposit fee. A payment processor may charge a fee though. For example, a credit card or online payment service may charge a 1% to 5% fee. This has nothing to do with the broker, but rather the payment method you choose.

Are there fees for making a forex withdrawal?

There may be a fee for making withdrawals via certain methods, but this will vary by broker. With some brokers all the withdrawal methods are free, with others, there is a different fee for each withdrawal type. Payment processors, such as credit cards or banks, may charge their own fee, which is outside the broker’s control.

Why do some brokers have higher minimum deposits than others?

Some brokers cater to small account traders while other brokers focus more on large accounts. Brokers with very small deposit minimums are catering to beginner traders. Brokers with high minimum deposit amounts are catering to higher net worth clients and may offer better trading conditions and/or customer service. Brokers can’t be judged on their deposit amount alone. Thoroughly inspect a broker before depositing money with them.

Is a low minimum forex deposit a good thing?

If you have minimal capital, a low minimum deposit may help get you trading. But trading isn’t easy. It’s been said that trading is the hardest way to make easy money. It also takes time to get good at trading. If really strapped for cash, instead of depositing a tiny amount and trying to gamble it into bigger gains, practice in a demo account while saving up capital. When you’ve proven to yourself you can trade profitably, then proceed with a deposit.

Further reading

Final Thoughts on Minimum Forex Deposits

Determining how much to deposit when trading the forex market requires a bit more thinking than just looking at the broker’s minimum deposit amount. While this is a starting point, the broker’s minimum deposit amount may not be functional for actual trading, and you may need more than that to reach your trading goals.

The broker’s minimum is the least amount you can put in. The recommended deposit is at least 100x the amount lost on the average losing trade. This means you are risking approximately 1% per trade. Multiply the average loss by 200x to get the recommended account minimum if risking 0.5% per trade.

You can also base your minimum deposit on income goals. Take your desired monthly income and divide it by the percentage (decimal) profit you can attain each month. For example, if you can make 10% and want to earn $2000 per month, divide $2000 by 0.1 to get a minimum account balance of $20,000.

Check out our forex trading tools, including the economic calendar and profit calculator.

Further reading

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