Online broker accounts

Free "demo" or practice accounts

Free Forex practice accounts are a service that are loved by some yet hated by others, why is this so? Surely a free practice account can be nothing but a good thing?

Not exactly so, it does have its benefits but also has it's pitfalls, in this section we will examine the pros and cons of such an account.

Lets start off by looking at the practice account. For those who may not be aware, the free practice account does exactly what it says on the tin, it lets you practice Forex trading for free, sounds great for a newbie trader and in many ways it is. The brokers who offer a free forex practice account do so to help get people interested in Forex, nothing wrong with that since they exist to expand the number of traders in the market and on their platform. It's also a great way for the new trader to begin to learn Forex trading.


Currency trading is no simple click and go experience, several brokers have introduced no frills platforms with low minimum deposits to get the virgin trader started and one or two have taken it a step further and allowed people to open a free practice account where you can begin trading with make-believe money until you have the confidence and knowledge to risk your own hard-earned cash.

That's were the main pro of the practice account lies, in being able to learn the Forex market and key functions of trade without risking a penny! However, this is not always good news. When trading with "virtual" money suddenly the risk becomes less, in fact risk is nonexistent as you have an endless stream of make-believe money this means you may be more likely to risk on trades you know you shouldn't and wouldn't make in the real world. This can lull you in to a false sense of security.

Lets say you make en extravagant risk with practice money and it comes off, so you make another big risk and that comes off too, all of a sudden your confidence is up and you feel you can start playing with your own money and taking uncalculated risks. The Forex market has suddenly become very very appealing, if you can make this much money in the practice area imagine how well off you would be if you were using real money? This is where things go wrong, you then go ahead and open a real Forex account and deposit your own cash.

Your confidence is up and you feel like you know what you are doing. You make a risky trade with your own cash and it fails, suddenly your Forex career is over and you are sat looking at a significant loss, it seems when its your own "real" money the practice you got with virtual cash counted for nothing. Of course if you take things slowly and carefully you can avoid this and become a successful trader, but you have to have that self control. Practice accounts are very useful, but only if you carry out trades exactly as you would if it was real money. Never make a trade in a practice account that you wouldn't make with your own cash!

To help get around this several brokers now offer mini-accounts with deposits as low as $25. This is virtually a practice account anyway with such low deposits, however, it’s still your own cash so you are more likely to make realistic trades and not risk big time trades.


The Mini Account

Mini forex accounts are used mostly be people who are just starting in the forex market and don’t possess enough funds to operate a regular account. The difference could be understood from the fact that a regular account could be opened with at least two and a half thousand dollars or more while the minimum for a mini forex account starts from $25.


Another advantage of mini forex account is its contract sizes. For a regular forex account, the lot sizes must be about hundred thousand while for a mini forex account the contract sizes are ten thousand. This means that mini forex contract comes out to be one tenth of the regular contracts.


Well, there are a lot of advantages of a forex mini account. The best thing is that with a forex mini account you get to enjoy benefits that are enjoyed by the holders of regular forex accounts. Some of these benefits are small spreads, free trading platforms etc.

USING $50 TO TRADE 10,000

There is a term that is very commonly used in the world of forex mini account. It is leverage. It could be understood as a facility that allows you to trade more than your deposits. For a mini forex account, the margin deposit needed for every $10,000 lot traded is $50. Now, you do the math. A simple calculation of dividing the two quantities would tell you that the leverage here would be 200 to 1. If you deposit just $250 in your mini forex account; it means that you can trade a maximum of five lots. Increasing the deposit to $1000 would allow you to trade a maximum of 20 and so on.

Compare this with a regular forex account. The leverage there is just 4 to 1 for account holders having $25,000 or more in their account. This means that the leverage of someone having mini forex account is fifty times higher than a regular forex account. It is true that higher leverage could not always be used but what it does is that you get some distinct advantages in terms of flexibility in changing the strategies as per the changes in forex market.