These days, open the internet and you will find loads of forex brokers claiming to be the one to offer the tightest spreads in the industry. But watch out! The marketing babble can be deceiving. To find out the forex broker with the small or the tightest spread one must understand the spread first.
The topic of spreads is rather complex and nothing affects your trading profitability more than this. Spread is the difference between the ask price (the price you buy at) and the bid price (the price you sell at) quoted in pips. For example, a quote between EUR/USD at a given point is 1.2222/4, then the spread is 2 pips, or if the quote is 1.22225/40, then the spread is 1.5 pips.
Spread is the tool through which your broker makes his earnings. So, wider the spread, higher is the ask price and lower the bid price. As a result, you pay more when you buy and get less when you sell and therefore earn less with all your trades. The forex broker with small spreads ensures a better profit opportunity.
As a trader, you must buy currencies at a lower price and subsequently sell it at a higher price to make the whole proposition profitable. But wider spread means buying higher and having to sell lower. A half-pip lower spread does not sound like much, but it makes the difference in a big way. Now a days, software based spread calculators are there where you can find out the spread easily and how much difference it is going to make in your return.
The forex trader with small spread should also have good execution. It is the quality of execution that decides whether you actually receive tight spreads or not. Your forex broker may promise a small spread but if it is with few pips to your disadvantage or you find your request to be rejected, you receive wider spread than promised.
Spreads must be considered in conjunction with depth of book. On the interbank forex market, the larger the size of the ticket, the larger the spread. So a 1-pip spread on an ECN platform may not be available for all trade sizes.
As the spread policies differ from broker to broker, the forex broker with small spread must have a transparent policy. Some brokers may offer fixed spreads irrespective of market liquidity. But as fixed spreads are almost always higher than variable spread, you effectively pay more.
Some forex brokers with small spread may offer it only under specific market condition and liquidity. In their case, the spreads are tighter when the market liquidity is good but more when the liquidity is less.
In ideal situation, your forex broker with small spread should have the option of variable spread depending on your trading style. If you trade only when the markets tend to be volatile, you may accept a fixed spread, but be sure that the execution is good. Some forex brokers with small spread may offer variable spread to different clients. If so, find out how you can avail a better offer.
While seeking the service of the broker, you must learn the terms and conditions of the spread offered. It should not involve any hidden cost. You may find several reliable sites who periodically performs assessments of brokers. You can seek help of one such site before choosing your forex broker with small spread.