Best ECN STP Forex Brokers

logomark Filippo Ucchino calendar Last Updated: January 2022 timer 15 min read
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At InvestinGoal, we adhere to strict standards to ensure an unbiased review process. We conduct our reviews by examining each broker’s offering and performance across 4 key categories. A final rating is produced for each forex broker based on a total of 187 data points. Learn more about our review process and methodology.

There are various order execution models used by forex brokers that can be confusing for those new to trading. Despite this, it’s important to understand the differences between these models before getting started and investing money. InvestinGoal have rounded up reputable ECN/STP forex brokers in the industry to allow traders to find the suitable option for them and understand how Electronic Communication Network (ECN) brokers differ from others, such as Straight Through Processing (STP) and Direct Market Access (DMA) brokers.

ECN, STP, and DMA brokers are all No Dealing Desk (NDD) brokers. NDD brokers, as opposed to the market maker brokers, all have a dealing desk.

Many users opt for ECN/STP brokers because they don’t want the broker to be the counterpart of their orders. In other words, they do not want to have conflicts of interest where the broker has the potential to gain from your losses as the counterpart.

From our experience, when people search for an ECN/STP broker, in essence, they are looking for a NDD broker, without really knowing what the differences between ECN and STP are.

Opting for an ECN/STP broker means you’re choosing a broker that will not be the counterpart of your orders, and instead, will work to find another counterpart to satisfy it. An ECN/STP broker will not be interested in the success (or failure) of your operations, but will instead act as an intermediary in order to satisfy them.

Among the various execution models, the noticeable differences for users are minimal, especially for those who simply want to do forex trading with no particular operational needs.

However, the main attracting factor of any NDD broker is the spread, which is usually lower (sometimes even zero) in comparison to market maker brokers.

NDD brokers also often have the ability to operate at extreme speed, even in scalping mode. It’s not a coincidence that almost every broker in our forex broker with lowest spread article is an ECN/STP dealer.

Round-Up of the best ECN/STP forex brokers

WARNING

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

Best ECN-STP Forex Brokers Minimum Deposit Average EUR/USD Spread (pips) Spread Type
Pepperstone No minimum deposit 0.09 Variable
HotForex $200 0.30 Variable
Admiral Markets $100 0.60 Variable
FP Markets $100 0.09 Variable
Forex.com $250 0.40 Variable
Dukascopy $100 0.29 Variable
Roboforex $100 0.10 Variable
LCG $10000 0.20 Variable
ActivTrades $1000 0.69 Variable
ADSS $100 0.15 Variable
Table of contents

Best ECN/STP forex brokers 2022

Our team of reviewers has rounded up popular and favourable ECN/STP forex brokers along with the best Australian and UK ECN brokers.

A relatively new broker that has been operating since 2010, Pepperstone has quickly become one of Australia’s most widely used forex brokers having won many awards confirming this. Pepperstone is particularly popular among Asian traders and investors and is one of few forex brokers to offer, in addition to the access to an ECN, a DMA (Direct Market Access) execution. The trust shown in this broker is further bolstered by their solid regulation through both the FCA and ASIC to protect traders.

Trading through Pepperstone, you will find two distinct account types available in the form of the Pepperstone Razor and Standard accounts. Both offer an accessible minimum deposit amount of $200 and a great starting spread that starts from 0 pips on the Razor account. This, along with a great value active trader program, help to reduce trading costs significantly.


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74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs

Voted by World Finance as the Best Broker for Asia in 2012, HotForex is one of the newer brokers in the industry having great success, considering it has only been operating since 2010. HotForex has always focused on providing the best possible service for small beginner traders, who operate with small volumes. With HotForex you have access to a variety of trading platforms and, above all, six types of accounts to choose from (Micro, Premium, Zero, Fixed, VIP, Auto).

A major point of attraction for traders when it comes to using HotForex as their ECN/STP broker is the fact that they are comprehensively regulated by both the FCA and MiFID providing optimum security to traders. New traders are also well catered for, with a minimum deposit of just $50. A copy trading service is also available with a minimum deposit of just $100 depending on place.


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71.64% of retail investor accounts lose money

Originally a Russian broker but later transferred to London, Admiral Markets is another ECN/STP forex broker that has won several awards. Founded in 2001, Admiral Markets is renowned for its highly advanced analysis tools, where traders can study all aspects of markets and prices to improve their trading performance. They are transparently regulated by both the FCA and CySEC with a huge catalogue of over 4000 assets available to trade including bonds, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, and more.

The accessibly low minimum deposit required by Admiral Markets of just $100 is another factor that has attracted the attention of many newer traders in the sector. A low forex spread starting from 0 pips is also in place to make sure there is something to retain all traders who do choose to sign up.


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76% of retail investor accounts lose money

FP Markets are another Australian broker with a stellar reputation when it comes to ECN/STP trading. They have been in the industry since 2005 and have advanced a great deal during that time thanks to their true NDD approach providing the best prices. FP Markets are also regulated by the well-respected ASIC and CySEC helping you feel secure when investing with this broker.

FP Markets is also popular among traders due to their low spread you can take advantage of, which remains at only 0 pips. This broker also offers an efficient ordering style and liquidity meaning you will never miss a beat in the market. Trading is available through trading platforms MT4 and MT5 and the minimum deposit stands at an excellent value of just $100.


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74-89% of retail CFD accounts lose money

Forex.com is one of the most prominent forex brokers in the world predominantly known in the United States, and much less in Europe and the rest of the world. Forex.com (owned by the Gain Capital company) is one of the few brokers to accept American customers and provide a state-of-the-art ECN platform, called GTX Direct. Along with being in prime position to welcome US forex trading, Forex.com is also well-regulated by both the FCA and ASIC, providing fixed spreads on commodities trading.

Traders can be attracted by the availability of fixed spreads, but also by the appealing, low minimum deposit of just $50 to get started in trading. Forex.com offers a huge choice of more than 90 forex currency pairs with a starting spread of 0.1 pips and more than 300 other markets available in indices, shares, and crypto to suit all types of traders.


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73% of retail investor accounts lose money

One of the largest Swiss forex brokers, Dukascopy Bank SA is, in effect, a bank more than a broker, so much so that it is regulated as such. Through the Dukascopy platforms you can access one of the largest ECN pools in the world, the Swiss Foreign Exchange Market place, where banks, hedge funds, institutional funds and large investors participate. You might assume their large-scale operation comes at a cost, however their minimum deposits start from only $100, though they can reach $1,000 or even $100,000 depending on the area.

The cost of trading is kept low too, with the spread starting from an extremely low 0.1 pips. The combination of an affordable deposit and low spread have made Dukaskopy a popular scalping choice among forex traders, further boosted by the availability of a $100 welcome bonus depending on your location.


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83% of retail CFD accounts lose money

Roboforex is a large broker, originally from New Zealand, that’s divided into two main branches, one for Asia and Southeast Asia, and one for Europe which is based in Cyprus. Roboforex is one of the forex brokers offering the chance to start with a cent account which is ideal for those starting out by keeping the risks as low as possible. In this case, however, it’s a dealing desk execution. Roboforex’s other accounts also provide an excellent ECN/STP system and are a CySEC and IFSC regulated broker where you can open an ECN cTrader account from just $10.

The Roboforex spreads also start from as low as 0 pips and you can access a great bonus infrastructure as a non-European trader, or a comprehensive active trader program from inside the EU.


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61.41% of retail CFD accounts lose money

LCG, i.e. London Capital Group, is part of a holding company that’s been operating since 1996. With LCG there is no minimum deposit required to open a trading account, however, to access the ECN technology you need to keep at least $10,000 on your account. Once you do this, you will have full access to the best that this ECN/STP broker has to offer including thorough regulatory oversight from both the FCA and CySEC.

A factor that attracts and retains many of the more experienced traders is the 7000 assets in total available to trade. These include a wide selection of bonds, interest rates, ETFs, and vanilla options. The cost of trading in terms of spreads is also kept to a minimum with these starting out as low as 0 pips on forex markets.


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76% of retail investor accounts lose money

ActivTrades began as a Swiss forex broker in 2001 before moving to London in 2005. ActivTrades is mainly active in Italy, where they received an award for best forex broker in 2011 and 2012. They are also well-regulated by the FCA in the UK and provide traders with some of the best trading platforms in the business. This means that beyond their own trading platform, both MT4 and MT5 are available. Newer traders are also drawn by the fact there is no minimum deposit.

Once you have an account, you will find a huge variety in their available markets. This includes ETFs and a host of CFDs as well as spread betting for UK traders. In addition, ActivTrades’ spreads on forex start from a competitive 0.5 pips.


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75.7% of retail CFD accounts lose money

ADS Prime’s mother company is ADS Securities, which is the largest forex broker of the United Arab Emirates. The European branch works under the name ADS Prime and is registered and operating in London. The broker boasts extensive regulation from both the Central Bank of Dubai and the FCA in the UK even though they are headquartered in Abu Dhabi.

ADS has won popularity among traders looking for fast ECN/STP execution thanks to its broad range of markets and the selection of other services they offer. This includes trading in Bitcoin and other investment support services. The value is evident with spreads starting at a low 0.1 pips and accounts with an accessible $100 minimum deposit. You can trade through the well-known MT4 and the brokers own proprietary trading platform providing a range of trading options for all.


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74-89% of retail CFD accounts lose money

What is an ECN forex broker?

ECN stands for Electronic Communications Network. Essentially, an ECN broker connects users within this network so they can trade assets directly with the financial markets. It effectively expedites the order execution process and makes it much more transparent at the same time.

Due to this, a real ECN forex broker is considered as both an STP (Straight Through Processing) and NDD (No Dealing Desk) broker, due to the fact that ECN execution provides no interference with the trading process whatsoever.

In addition, ECN forex brokers provide high speed, no interference efficiency and a great combination of low spreads with some of the fastest execution speeds in the industry.

What are ECN liquidity providers?

ECN liquidity providers are those who provide the prices to the broker which in turn can be offered to traders. Forex brokers will typically choose the best of these prices from their multiple liquidity providers to supply in their Electronic Communication Network.

It is not uncommon for a top forex broker to have multiple liquidity providers, which allows them to have an increased level of liquidity, and in turn, offer the most stable, consistent, and lowest pricing on the forex market to their traders.

Overall then, we can see that ECN trading relies not only on the brokers to create a great experience, but also on the performance and offerings of each liquidity provider.

ECN account vs standard account

There are several key differences between an ECN and a standard trading account:

  • Low Forex spreads: ECN spreads usually start from 0 pips. While many of the top forex brokers may also supply low and competitive spreads on a standard account, the spread usually starts from 1 pip or higher in many cases.
  • No requotes and slippage: The deep liquidity offered by ECN brokers, combined with the speed of execution for orders across the networks, means there are no requotes needed and occurrences of slippage are extremely rare.
  • Commissions per lot: Since they often offer a considerably lower spread, ECN brokers usually do charge a small commission per every standard lot traded. This typically starts from around $3 per lot traded with many major forex brokers still staying very competitive on this point.
  • Order execution delay: As mentioned, the ECN order execution is lightning fast. This means there is no delay in completing the order making it the perfect model for clients like scalpers.
  • Safety and transparency: ECN brokers, thanks to their own STP and NDD nature, cannot manipulate the market. They are almost completely uninvolved other than facilitating the network meaning they are a safe and transparent way to trade.
  • Minimum deposit: The minimum deposit can be a little higher for ECN broker accounts. This means you are usually looking at a $200 or higher minimum deposit, though there are some exceptions.

Why are ECN brokers recommended for scalpers?

ECN brokers are ideal for scalpers due to scalpers relying on very small market movements. They must get in and out of the market quickly, meaning ECN’s lightning fast execution is a huge benefit. In addition, the tight spreads are also necessary along with the stability that the deep liquidity can provide.

ECN accounts therefore, have all of the key components that a scalper will look for and need if they are to operate successfully. Another key requirement for a scalper to exploit the small market movements is the availability of trading with brokers with high leverage. Typically, a leverage amount between 10:1 and 20:1 is enough to balance risk and reward for many.

Obtaining leverage in Europe and the UK under the FCA, ESMA and ASIC regulations, brokers can offer a maximum leverage of 30:1 on major forex pairs. If you are trading from outside this area though, that amount can increase. One example of this is South Africa where well-regulated brokers can provide their clients up to 400:1 leverage on major forex pairs.

If you want to open an ECN scalping account, benefit from our analysis of the best ECN scalping forex brokers in the industry before investing.

What is the best ECN forex trading platform?

The final component to consider, and a key ingredient when choosing your ECN forex broker, is the ECN forex trading platform. If you are a scalper, then generally speaking, cTrader is the best for this. It is usually favored as a top ECN trading platform by brokers and traders alike.

cTrader brings all the positive points of MetaTrader but is generally considered, for scalping, to be more efficient in order execution. This is the reason that many top ECN brokers offer cTrader as an option.

That being said, if the execution speed is not your biggest concern, and you just want to trade forex with an ECN broker and benefit from a tight spread, then MT4 is an ideal forex trading platform for you to choose.

If you need an ECN broker with this specific feature, you can utilise our round-up of the best MT4 ECN Forex Broker choices that may suit your needs.

ECN/STP forex brokers list

WARNING

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

Broker Min. deposit EUR/USD Avg Spread Fee/lot
Pepperstone $200 0.09 pips $7
HotForex $200 0.30 pips $6
Admiral Markets $100 0.60 pips $6
FP Markets $100 0.09 pips $6
Forex.com $250 0.40 pips $6
Dukascopy $100 0.29 pips $9
Roboforex $100 0.10 pips $6
LCG $10000 0.20 pips $4
Activtrades $1000 0.69 pips $0
ADSS $100 0.15 pips $10

Pros and cons of the ECN/STP brokers

Here are some of the key pros and cons to consider when it comes to using ECN/STP brokers:

Pros

  • The trading costs with these ECN/STP brokers is generally lower overall.
  • Lightning fast order execution speed is always on offer with these ECN brokers featured.
  • Due to their minimum involvement, they are often some of the safest, and most transparent brokers to trade with.

Cons

  • Trading is highly influenced by the liquidity providers quality, how many liquidity providers they have, and the prices they can provide.
  • Minimum deposits for ECN accounts may be higher than the average you would find with a standard account. This can limit availability for newer or casual traders.

FAQs

What are the best ECN/STP forex brokers?

The best ECN/STP forex brokers are: 1. Pepperstone – 2. HotForex – 3. Admiral Markets – 4. FP Markets – 5. Forex.com – 6. Dukascopy – 7. Roboforex – 8. LCG – 9. ActivTrades – 10. ADSS

What is the lowest spread in forex?

The lowest spreads available in forex start from 0 pips. However, in some cases, such as with FBS, one of the lowest spread forex brokers, you may also find negative spreads during certain market situations.

Which ECN broker has the lowest minimum deposit?

The broker with the lowest spread overall is Admiral Markets, since it manages to offer average spreads from 0.09 pips on EUR/USD currency pairs.


About the Author

Filippo Ucchino

Co-Founder - CEO - Broker Expert
Filippo is the co-founder and CEO of InvestinGoal.com. He has 15 years of experience in the financial sector and forex in particular. He started his career as a forex trader in 2005 and then became interested in the whole fintech and crypto sector.
Over this time, he has developed an almost scientific approach to the analysis of brokers, their services, and offerings. In addition, he is an expert in Compliance and Security Policies for consumers protection in this sector.
With InvestinGoal, Filippo’s goal is to bring as much clarity as possible to help users navigate the world of online trading, forex, and cryptocurrencies.

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