Top 10 Best ECN STP Forex Brokers List 2020 (Non Dealing Desk)

Filippo Last Updated: October 2020 15 min read
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Over the years we have often noted that there is great confusion about the orders execution models used by forex brokers.

ECN… STP … DMA … Dealing or Non Dealing Desk… Market Maker…

Understanding all the differences is not that easy, especially for the beginner.

With our Top 10 list (also specifically for UK and Australia), we have tried to simplify things a little bit.

The ECN brokers (Electronic Communication Network), the STP (Straight Through Processing) and DMA (Direct Market Access) can be grouped in the great family of NDD brokers, No Dealing Desk, opposed to the Market Maker brokers, which have a dealing desk.

Many users search for true 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 might “hope” for your losses, that for them would mean gains, since they are the counterpart.

From our experience, when people search for the best ECN STP brokers, in essence they are looking for a Non Dealing Desk broker, without really knowing what the difference between what ECN and STP are.

With an STP ECN broker you’re choosing a broker that will not be the counterpart of your orders, but that will simply work to find another counterpart to satisfy it. Basically, an ECN STP broker will not be interested in the success (or failure) of your operations, but they will only act as an intermediary in order to satisfy them.

Among the various execution models, the differences perceived, on the user side, actually are really low, especially for those who simply want to do forex trading with no particular operational needs.

However, the major point of any NDD broker is certainly the spread. This is usually lower (sometimes even zero) than the Market Maker one, and often has the ability to operate at extreme speed, even in scalping mode.

Table of contents

Best ECN STP Forex Brokers 2020

Here’s our list of the ECN STP forex brokers. In this listing you will also find the best Australian and UK ECN brokers.

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79.3% of retail investor accounts lose money

1. Pepperstone

A relatively new broker, operating since 2010, it has quickly become one of Australia’s best forex brokers (with many awards confirming this), highly appreciated by Asian traders and investors. Pepperstone is one of the 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 put in place by both the FCA and ASIC to protect traders.

Trading through Pepperstone, on top of the best execution, you will find 2 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.

83
Rated: Excellent
security 96
cost 76
trading 70
education 100

Platforms: cTrader desktop, cTrader web, ZuluTrade, MT4 Dekstop, MT4 Web, MT5 Desktop, MT5 Web, MAC Platforms Regulations: FCA, MIFID-ESMA, ASIC, DFSA, CYSEC, Offshore Minimum Deposit:
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72.90% of retail investor accounts lose money

2. HotForex

Voted by World Finance as Best Broker for Asia in 2012, HotForex is one of the new brokers which are having great success, considering it has 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 a variety of platforms and, above all, 6 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 under MiFID regulation providing the best security to traders. New traders are also very well catered for in terms of the minimum deposit being just $50, while a copy trading service is also available with a minimum deposit of just $100 depending on place.

81
Rated: Excellent
security 96
cost 84
trading 58
education 100

Platforms: MT4 Dekstop, MT4 Web, MT5 Desktop, MT5 Web Regulations: MIFID-ESMA, CYSEC, Offshore, FSC (Mauritius) Minimum Deposit:
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76% of retail investor accounts lose money

3. Admiral Markets

Originally a Russian broker, but later transferred to London, Admiral Markets is another ECN/STP forex broker, winner of several awards during their time, which began in 2001. Admiral Markets is renowned for its highly advanced analysis tools, with which traders can study every aspect of markets and prices to improve their trading performance. They are transparently regulated by both the FCA and CySEC with a huge catalogue of assets available to trade numbering over 4,000 and including bonds, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, and more.

The accessibly low minimum deposit required by Admiral Markets, being just $100, is something that has also 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.

75
Rated: Excellent
security 96
cost 57
trading 58
education 100

Platforms: MT4 Dekstop, MT4 Web, MT5 Desktop, MAC Platforms Regulations: FCA, MIFID-ESMA, ASIC, CYSEC Minimum Deposit: 100
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74-89% of retail CFD accounts lose money

4. FP Markets

FP Markets are another top Australian broker with a very 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 no dealing desk approach providing the best prices. They are also regulated by the very well-trusted ASIC and CySEC helping you feel very secure as a trader with this broker.

The satisfaction you will feel as a trader with FP Markets is no doubt well boosted by the very low spread you can take advantage of here. This remains very low at only 0pips and with the efficient ordering style and liquidity meaning you will never miss a beat in the market. Trading is available through the best of platforms in MT4 and MT5, and the minimum deposit here stands at excellent value of just $100.

77
Rated: Excellent
security 95
cost 62
trading 70
education 71

Platforms: MT4 Dekstop, MT4 Web, MT5 Desktop, MT5 Web, Proprietary Desktop Platform, MAC Platforms Regulations: ASIC Minimum Deposit: $200
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72% of retail investor accounts lose money

5. Forex.com

One of the biggest forex brokers in the world, but 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 therefore one of the few 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 more so by the very appealing, low minimum deposit of just $50 to get started in trading a huge choice of more than 90 forex currency pairs where the starting spread is a fantastic value 0.1 pips and there are more than 300 other markets available in indices, shares, and crypto. Trading choice to suit everyone.

76
Rated: Excellent
security 97
cost 52
trading 61
education 100

Platforms: MT4 Dekstop, MT4 Web, Proprietary Desktop Platform, Proprietary Web Platform Regulations: FSA, FCA, CFTC, MIFID-ESMA, IIROC, SFC Minimum Deposit:
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83% of retail CFD accounts lose money

6. Dukascopy

One of the largest, if not the largest Swiss forex broker. 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 Marketplace, where banks, hedge funds, institutional funds and large investors participate. This large scale operation you would think comes at a cost, but the minimum deposits here start from only $100, though they can reach $1,000 or even $100,000 depending on the area.

The cost of trading remains excellent too, with the spread starting from an extremely low 0.1 pips. The combination of an affordable deposit and very low spread have also made it a top forex scalping choice among traders that has further been boosted by the availability of a $100 welcome bonus depending on your location.

76
Rated: Excellent
security 97
cost 51
trading 69
education 82

Platforms: Mirror Trader, Proprietary Web Platform Regulations: FSA, FINMA, FCA, MIFID-ESMA Minimum Deposit: $100
Open an account
74-89% of retail CFD accounts lose money

7. Roboforex

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

Added to these positives is the fact that the spreads start from as low as possible at 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.

78
Rated: Excellent
security 95
cost 78
trading 59
education 83

Platforms: cTrader desktop, cTrader web, MT4 Dekstop, MT4 Web, MT5 Desktop, MT5 Web, Proprietary Web Platform, MAC Platforms Regulations: MIFID-ESMA, CYSEC, Offshore Minimum Deposit: $10
Open an account
76% of retail investor accounts lose money

8. LCG

The forex Broker LCG, i.e. London Capital Group, is part of a holding company 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.

Added to that and a point that works in attracting and retaining many of the more experienced traders is that LCG makes a whopping 7,000 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.

77
Rated: Excellent
security 96
cost 56
trading 64
education 100

Platforms: MT4 Dekstop, MT4 Web, Proprietary Web Platform Regulations: FCA, MIFID-ESMA Minimum Deposit: $0
Open an account
75.7% of retail CFD accounts lose money

9. ActivTrades

ActivTrades began as a Swiss forex broker in 2001, before moving to London in 2005. ActivTrades is very active mainly in Italy, where they also received an award for best forex broker in 2011 and 2012. They are also very 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 with ActivTrades.

Once you have an account, you will find a huge variety in available markets. This includes options, ETFs, and a host of CFDs as well as spread betting for UK traders. All of these positive reasons to trade here are wrapped up by the fact that spreads on forex start from a very competitive 0.5 pips.

72
Rated: Excellent
security 96
cost 55
trading 57
education 76

Platforms: Mirror Trader, ZuluTrade, MT4 Dekstop, MT4 Web, MT5 Desktop, MT5 Web, Proprietary Desktop Platform, Proprietary Web Platform, MAC Platforms Regulations: FCA, MIFID-ESMA, DFSA, Offshore Minimum Deposit: $100
Open an account
74-89% of retail CFD accounts lose money

10. ADSS

ADS Prime’s mother company is ADS securities, the biggest forex broker of the United Arab Emirates. The European branch instead works with the name ADS Prime and it is registered and operating in London. This means that 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 great 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 0.1pips and accounts are very accessible with a $100 minimum deposit to trade through the well-known MT4 and the brokers own proprietary trading platform bringing a range of trading options for all.

78
Rated: Excellent
security 95
cost 76
trading 61
education 82

Platforms: Proprietary Web Platform Regulations: FCA, SFC, DFSA Minimum Deposit: £100

What is a Real ECN Forex Broker? How does it work?

This is the first question for many people when it comes to ECN forex brokers. What exactly is ECN?

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

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

Added to this high speed, no interference efficiency, real ECN forex accounts also always provide a great combination of very low spreads, and some of the most lightning fast execution speed in the industry.

What are ECN Liquidity providers? Why are they so important for ECN Trading?

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. This 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: what’s the difference?

When it comes to comparing the differences between a true ECN account, and a standard account, you will find many of them. Here we have created a detailed list of some of the key differences you are likely to find:

  • Low Forex spreads: ECN spreads usually start from 0 pips. While many of the top forex brokers may also supply very low and competitive spreads on a standard account, the standard account spread usually starts from 1pip or higher in many cases.
  • No requotes and Slippage: The very deep liquidity which ECN brokers have, combined with the speed of execution for orders across the networks, mean 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 at all in completing the order. It makes 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. This means they are a very safe, and transparent way to trade.
  • Minimum Deposit: The minimum deposit can be a little higher. This means you are usually looking at a $200 or more minimum deposit though there are some exceptions.

Why are ECN brokers perfect for scalpers?

We mentioned that ECN brokers are ideal for scalpers. This is the case since scalpers rely on very small market movements. They must get in and out of the market very quickly, so the lightning fast execution is a huge benefit. The tight spreads are also necessary as is stability that the deep liquidity can provide.

ECN accounts then, 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 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 and ESMA 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. An example here is Australia or South Africa where well-regulated brokers can provide to their clients up to 400:1 leverage on major forex pairs.

If you want to open an ECN scalping account, check our opinion on the best ECN scalping forex brokers before making your next move.

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 of our top ECN brokers on the listing offer cTrader as an option.

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

If you need an ECN broker with this specific feature, here’s our personal top 10 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 0.16 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

To round off, here are some of the key pros and cons we have found when it comes to ECN-STP brokers to look out for:

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.

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