In this article we first clarify what ECN trading and an ECN broker actually is and then we give some successful examples in this area.

In our ECN broker comparison, we were able to test the best ECN brokers in the categories of usability, fees, assets, training and design.

After this article you should have all the information on how to choose a suitable ECN broker and what the test winner of the editorial team is.

Enjoy reading and be successful in choosing the right ECN broker!

ECN Broker Comparison: The Best ECN Brokers

Now we come to the most interesting part of our ECN broker comparison. Our test winners are clearly eToro, Plus500 and Libertex. Why? Let’s find out now!

1st place: eToro

eToro is certainly one of the best-known brokers around. Accordingly, eToro is also extremely well equipped when it comes to the range of services for traders. There is almost nothing here that is not available. Since 2007, eToro has already gathered over two million customers on its platform.

eToro is regulated in Cyprus by the financial supervisory authority CySEC. The trading platform is designed to be extremely user-friendly. This means without distracting advertising promises, with many clear structures and an attractive design. The fees are also kept within limits, although the spreads on currencies are above average.

If you want to try your luck here, you have to pay the extremely low minimum deposit of 250 euros. Fortunately, not only the tradable offer is large, but also the deposit and withdrawal options. In addition, there is a diligent customer service that rounds off this offer.

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2nd place: Libertex

The second provider in the group is Libertex. This provider has been active since 1997. In the meantime, Libertex Bank belongs to the Forex Club, with many other financial products. A positive aspect is that the Global Trading System trading software is available to customers here.

This makes trading extremely simple and fast. In addition, the security is completely free of charge and attentive traders can always catch so-called free buys. These free buys are orders that come without any fees.

Libertex can also look forward to a large customer base that diligently makes use of the large portfolio. Thanks to the simple website, the use of the large portfolio should also be easy for beginners.

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3rd place: Plus500

Plus500 has been around since 2008, so they have had plenty of time to develop their range of currencies, commodities, stocks, indices and cryptocurrencies. As a trader, you definitely won’t get bored here. In addition, the CFD platform is extremely simple and user-friendly.

A free and unlimited demo account is available for practising your own strategies. Nevertheless, one should of course bear in mind that CFDs are complex investment products that should not be traded without prior knowledge. Plus500 has also built up a fan community in the meantime, who are extremely satisfied with this ECN broker.

If you want to gain your own experience here, you first have to manage the minimum deposit of 100 euros. This platform also offers a wide range of deposit and withdrawal options. The only disadvantage, which can be deduced from the many customer reviews, is the occasional delay in withdrawals.

If you would like to contact Plus500’s customer support in this regard, this can unfortunately only be done by email. By the way, Plus500 also has its headquarters in Cyprus and is regulated there.

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ECN Broker Comparison: How do I use an ECN Broker?

Using an ECN broker is not difficult, as long as the ECN broker has sufficient experience and is reputable. Because then the focus is entirely on the user-friendly environment, which should make every registration a breeze. We will now take a look at how exactly such a registration could work.

1. registration

Registration begins with the completion of a registration form. Of course, this exists in digital form on the platform of the ECN broker itself. Usually you don’t have to search for it for long, because at least a link to the registration can always be found. You then enter your data in the registration form.

After that, you have to enter a secure password and your account is opened. However, you cannot start trading right away because you first have to verify your identity and provide your account with a financial basis.

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2. verification

There is no way around verification – at least with legal, licensed and regulated ECN brokers. And that’s a good thing, because this security measure makes using the platform a lot safer. Reputable providers don’t sneak their customers around this part of the registration process.

Unfortunately, verification is a bit of a hassle, because you usually have to upload a copy of your identity card or passport. The operators also often ask for proof of address. Sometimes this part of the registration is done by uploads only, which are then checked by staff. Video calls are also often used to verify personal data.

3. deposit

You should not have any major problems when making a deposit either. Most providers are well positioned in this area and offer a wide range of deposit options. Mostly, the deposit area includes payment by credit card, instant transfer and some digital payment service providers.

Once you have selected your favourite deposit method, you can set a deposit value. Many platforms work with a minimum deposit amount at this point. You should not exceed this minimum deposit amount until you are completely convinced by the platform.

As a general rule, you should only give away the amount that you can bear the loss of without financial problems in an emergency. Of course, investing in the online stock market involves some risks that could lead to the loss of the entire investment.

Here is an overview of all payment methods available at eToro:

Payment optionpossible?
Deposit with credit card✔️
Deposit with PayPal✔️
Deposit with SOFORT Bank Transfer✔️
Deposit with Rapid Transfer✔️
Deposit with Skrill✔️
Deposit with bank transfer✔️
Deposit with Neteller✔️
Deposit with UnionPay✔️

4. trade

Once you have made the deposit, you finally get to the actual part of the whole process: trading. This part is not difficult either, because the offer is usually well structured and intuitively usable. Once you have decided on a financial product, you only need to place an order.

If supply and demand come together, the trade is completed. Even if trading on the ECN broker platforms is quite simple, one should not lose sight of the fees incurred.

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What is an ECN Broker? The ECN Broker definition:

Let’s first clarify what an ECN broker actually is. Only on the basis of this knowledge can we evaluate which broker really does a good job. ECN, or Electronic Communication Network, is about trading in foreign exchange. However, not standard trading with foreign exchange, but rather the combination of foreign exchange trading with the connection of traders to a network.

In this network, not only the traders meet, but also brokers and other participants. In this network, the aim is to offer liquidity, so that foreign exchange trading takes place quasi outside the stock exchange. However, the price in this over-the-counter marketplace also depends on demand.

The ECN broker as a cost-effective hub

In simplified terms, an ECN broker connects liquidity providers with traders, banks and other brokers. The participants of the network can therefore enter their orders directly into the order book of the ECN broker. The orders once entered there remain visible to the participants.

Basically, the ECN broker gives traders access to the electronic trading platform and takes care of forwarding the orders. Because the ECN broker stands between the parties, this entity has nothing whatsoever to do with price formation. For traders, however, access via an ECN broker has a decisive financial advantage.

The ECN brokers themselves do not profit from spreads. Accordingly, there are always advantageous spreads to be discovered here. If you keep your eyes open, you can find spreads with low bid-ask differences.

Since the ECN brokers do not earn money through the spreads, there are fees elsewhere that investors should pay attention to. The ECN brokers charge a commission that varies from platform to platform. In summary, ECN trading via an ECN broker has some advantages.

On the one hand, there are the narrow spreads and the relatively low fees. However, the high transparency in this area is at least as advantageous as the high liquidity and the comprehensive offer.

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ECN advantages and disadvantages

  • Broker does not provide own courses
  • Orders are forwarded without a dealing desk
  • Orders find the best buyers
  • Fewer conflicts of interest
  • Lower spreads
  • Particularly suitable for advanced traders
  • Spreads are variable
  • Some brokers charge an additional order fee

One of the biggest advantages of an ECN broker is that it does not provide its own quotes and the orders are forwarded directly. There is no need for a dealing desk. Dealing desk brokers earn the most when the customer records high losses. If customers make profits, the broker loses. This always leads to a conflict of interest.

ECN brokers usually earn their money purely through spreads and try to find the best buyer for the customer. There is no dealing desk (straight-through processing). With an ECN broker there is no conflict of interest as long as the spread meets the investor’s requirements. The longer the customer trades via an ECN broker, the greater the profit for the broker.

However, the disadvantage is that some ECN brokers offer variable (or dynamic) spreads, which can have a negative impact on the investor’s profit. Furthermore, there are some brokers who charge an order fee in addition to the spread.

ECN Broker vs. Market Maker

Market makers are so-called dealing desk brokers who provide their own prices because they do not execute orders on the interbank market. They bring buyers and sellers together internally or secure the customer’s position. The prices of market makers can sometimes deviate considerably from those of customers on the interbank market. Market makers are therefore exchange members who provide prices for certain assets and trade at their own risk and for their own account.

Market makers pass on orders to providers who create the best price for the market maker – and not for the client. This usually creates a conflict of interest, as market makers tend to trade against the client. Market makers set the buying and selling prices at their own discretion.

ECN stands for Electronic Communication Network. ECN brokers integrate their clients directly into a liquidity network. Participants including clients thus have the possibility to enter orders in the order book of the ECN broker. ECN brokers, or non-dealing desk brokers, receive quotes from partner banks connected via the interbank market. These banks set prices and the broker then offers its customers the most favourable prices.

What criteria are used to select the best ECN brokers?

Now that we have clarified what an ECN broker actually is, let’s move on to how we selected the best online brokers in 2021. The online stock market is no longer a novelty, which is why making money online is easier than ever before. However, if you want to be successful in the long term with this strategy, you should not only ask yourself which shares you buy, but also where you invest your money.

We have picked out some top criteria. Based on these criteria, we evaluated the various ECN brokers in our ECN broker comparison. It quickly becomes clear which ECN broker really has something to offer.

1. usability & design

Right at the top of our evaluation catalogue is the category “Usability”. This is about how user-friendly an offer is structured. This includes the presentation of the platform, the accessibility of the website, the existence of a website or even an app optimised for mobile devices, an interesting portfolio, the existence of a customer service and an imprint.

Roughly speaking, usability is about evaluating the rough overall package – what’s in it for customers when they use the platform?

Yes, the design is also important. After all, you want to feel comfortable when earning money online. Even in the area of the best online brokers 2021, the eye eats with you. The STP brokers and ECN brokers we have presented all shine with a user-friendly platform that comes with an attractive design.

This makes it easier, especially for newcomers, to quickly find their way around the website and to use the full range of services. However, one should not attach too much importance to these external features. Unless an abundance of intrusive advertising promises makes the use of the website a torture. Fortunately, this is different with our STP brokers and ECN brokers.

2. fees

Reputable platforms charge fees because they do not want to steal the customers’ initial deposit but earn money with the customers’ funds in the long term. So here and there costs arise for account management, commissions and the like. So before you start the adventure of “earning money online” with the best ECN broker, you should think about how you want to use this platform.

This is because different prices are charged for the different features. If you only plan to trade a few times a year, order fees are probably less interesting than if you use this service several times a week. In general, however, the fees charged by the best online brokers in 2021 are kept within reasonable limits.

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3. assets

Clearly, it is not only the transparent fee structure that is enormously important. The range of different assets also plays a major role. But here you should also be clear in advance about what you actually expect. Are you more interested in niche products or which shares do you want to buy?

Is an oversized selection important or is a moderate portfolio sufficient? Because every ECN broker has its own individual set-up, which may or may not suit your own ideas.

4. continuing education

The concept of Börse Online is well known, but constantly changing. That’s why it’s actually quite smart to make an effort to always stay up to date. Because the current knowledge about the changes in the online stock market also contributes to which shares one ultimately buys.

Of course, the operators know this too and regularly offer their customers opportunities for further education. Online courses and other informative material play a major role here. Coaching is also a popular gadget in the area of continuing education. The platforms we have presented offer an interesting area for continuing education.

5. customer service & support

Of course, customer service is also of great importance with an ECN broker. It is particularly important that there are various ways to contact the support. A simple contact form is no longer sufficient today – because every second often counts when trading.

A good ECN broker therefore offers various contact options, including telephone support, email and even live chat.

At eToro you have the opportunity to take a look at the support page first. The most common questions about the online broker and trading are answered there, and as soon as a problem or question arises during trading, you can contact the support team. At eToro you have several options for contacting customer service.

If you are already a registered investor, you can select the corresponding tab under “Online Help”. You can also use the practical live chat or the telephone.

For future investors, there is the possibility to make a new request and leave one’s e-mail address in a contact form with a message.

It is also a great advantage that support is available in several languages.

6. licence

The regulation of an ECN broker is equally important. This also represents an important clue that can be used to determine whether it is a reputable provider or not.

Whether the headquarters of an ECN broker is in UK is basically not decisive. It is much more important that the platform is available in German, is subject to European law and is sufficiently regulated. In this ECN broker comparison, this applies to all tested providers.

Here, too, the following applies: All tested ECN brokers can be recommended without hesitation, as they are regulated by different authorities. This ensures, for example, that traders’ investment income must be held in escrow accounts.

Our test winner eToro also has a government deposit guarantee of €20,000 and is fully regulated and licensed.

eToro (Europe) Ltd. is a financial services provider licensed (license number 109/10) by the Cyprus Securities Exchange Commission (CySEC) and subject to its regulations.

The broker’s licence comes from the EU country Cyprus. European regulations must therefore be adhered to, otherwise eToro would not be able to offer its service in the first place.

7. functions of the ECN brokers

iOS & Android 
Apple Watch compatible  
Real-time charts 
Price alerts 
Mobile Trading
Account management 
Demo account 

8. deposit options of the ECN brokers

Deposit optionseToroLibertexPlus500
Credit cards 
Instant bank transfer 
Bank transfer 

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ECN broker comparison – the top providers in a detailed comparison

German ECN brokers or international providers?

Whether the headquarters of an ECN broker is in UK is basically not decisive. It is much more important for most people whether the platform is available in German, whether it is subject to European law and whether it is sufficiently regulated. In this ECN broker comparison, this applies to all tested providers.

ECN Broker Comparison: The Conclusion

With the right know-how, it is not that difficult to find a suitable ECN broker. However, you first have to acquire this know-how in order to be able to make thorough evaluations and comparisons.

Good that we have done that with this and can show useful results in the broker comparison 2021. The best ECN broker is eToro, as our test has shown.

This ECN broker was able to convince in all our test criteria. Nevertheless, all ECN brokers presented in the test are quite different and thus have their individual features up their sleeves for each project.

Anyone who wants to let off steam in the field of ECN brokers now has the ideal basis for doing so!

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ECN Broker Comparison: FAQs

What is an ECN broker?

ECN Trading stands for Electronic Communication Network Trading. An ECN broker is therefore an exchange that offers this type of trading.

What are the best alternatives when I am looking for an ECN broker?

In the ECN broker test, eToro, Plus500 and Libertex were particularly convincing.

Is trading with an ECN broker worth it?

There is no general answer to this question. However, with an ECN broker you are certainly in a position to generate profits.

What should I look for when choosing the right ECN broker?

Above all, the seriousness of the broker should be of utmost importance. But fees and other factors also play a role. The ECN brokers presented were convincing in all these aspects.

Is there a guarantee of winning?

No, guaranteed profits are not possible with any financial investment. However, one has the choice of how risky the chosen investment method should be.

All trading is risky. No guarantee of profit .Any content on our website is for information purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell. This applies to assets, products, services or other investments. The opinions communicated on this site do not constitute investment advice and independent financial advice should always be sought where possible. This website is available to you free of charge, but we may receive commissions from the companies we feature on this website.


Raphael Adrian

After completing my journalism master’s degree in 2013, I worked as a freelance journalist and author for several years. During this time, I specialised in finance, business and cryptocurrencies. Since November 2018, I have been working as cryptoscene editor-in-chief.

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ECN Broker Comparison 2021: Best ECN Brokers UK in Test
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