For high volume traders, FOREX.com offers an Active Trader program with five tiers of pricing. Level one starts with typical spreads of 1.2 pips on the EUR/USD for traders who have a balance of least $25,000. Spreads are further reduced with each subsequent level as traders surpass specific month-to-date (MTD) trading volume thresholds. For example, level five brings spreads as low as 0.84 pips on a pair for traders who reach higher than $500 million in MTD volume.
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Either way you don’t have to provide the full currency value to open your position. Instead you put down a margin deposit, which is a fraction of the full value. And you don’t actually buy or sell any currency: you are opening a speculative position on the change in value of the forex pair. Your profit or loss is realised when you close your position by selling or buying.
One unique aspect of this international market is that there is no central marketplace for foreign exchange. Rather, currency trading is conducted electronically over-the-counter (OTC), which means that all transactions occur via computer networks between traders around the world, rather than on one centralized exchange. The market is open 24 hours a day, five and a half days a week, and currencies are traded worldwide in the major financial centers of London, New York, Tokyo, Zurich, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and Sydney - across almost every time zone. This means that when the trading day in the U.S. ends, the forex market begins anew in Tokyo and Hong Kong. As such, the forex market can be extremely active any time of the day, with price quotes changing constantly.