Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 69% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets, CFDs, OTC options or any of our other products work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

How much do you need to start trading forex?

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of how to get started with forex trading​​, how much capital you’ll need, and how much you could potentially earn from your trades. We offer 300+ currency pairs, including major, minor, and exotic crosses, so why not get started now by opening an account?

The basics of forex trading

The forex market is one of the largest and most liquid financial markets in the world. Traders can use derivative products, such as spread bets or CFDs​, to speculate on the appreciation or depreciation of currency pairs. This is through margin trading, which allows you to open a much larger position using a small amount of capital, which is referred to as your deposit.

What is margin and leverage?

When trading on margin, you’ll be able to deposit a percentage of your full trade value, which starts at 3.3% for major currency pairs like GBP/USD and USD/JPY at CMC Markets. This is also expressed as a leverage ratio of 20:1, which can equally help to magnify profits and losses, depending on if the trade is successful or not. Read more about margin in forex trading​.

What are pips?

A pip or ‘percentage in point’ reflects the smallest amount that a currency can move in the market. For most pairs (except the Japanese yen), a pip is equivalent to 0.0001 or 1/100th of a %, whereas for the JPY, it’s 0.01 or 1%.

For example, if the GBP/USD moves from 1.4035 to 1.4040, this represents a five-pip move, or if it moves to 1.5035, this is a 100-pip move.

To calculate your profit or loss from a trade, you would multiply the stake value (e.g. £1 per pip) by how many pips the pair moves by. Learn about pips in forex​.

Is there a minimum deposit to get started?

When trading with us, there isn’t a minimum deposit required to open a live account. However, you won’t be able to get started properly and place a trade until there are sufficient funds to cover your position.

For example, you can spread bet from a stake size of £0.30 per point on EUR/USD, GBP/USD and USD/JPY, and from £0.40 per point on EUR/GBP. When you open an order ticket on our platform, we calculate the estimated margin requirement for you to open a forex trade on your chosen pair. So, if you want to open a buy position for the EUR/USD which is trading at 1.11278, your minimum margin requirement would be £111.49. If you want to sell the GBP/USD at 1.31228, you’d need £131.49 as your estimated margin.

To view the minimum trade size for all instruments, open its trading chart on the platform, click on ‘Product overview’ and then ‘Betting and Position Limits’.

The table below shows five of the most popular forex instruments on our platform with their applicable margin rates and prices, which you can get started trading on today.

InstrumentMin spreadMargin ratePriceMargin requirement

Pricing is indicative. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

Example of a trade using spread bets

With the above key explanations in mind, let’s now calculate a forex trade using our most popular product, spread betting, which is a tax-free option* for traders in the UK and Ireland. We’ll use the GBP/USD or “cable” pair as an example.

Buy price = 1.3139
Sell price = 1.3138
Margin rate = 3.3%

Imagine you want to open a long position because you think the value of the GBP/USD will increase over time. You place a ‘buy’ bet at £1 per point, which is your stake size. As the margin rate of this currency pair is the lowest at 3.34%, you will only be required to deposit this amount as your position margin.

Minimum margin = £438.89

Therefore, you’ll need to transfer a minimum of £438.89 into your account in order to open the position. Don’t forget that you’ll also need to cover other potential costs, such as spread costs and overnight fees if you plan to hold your position for more than one day.

Let’s say that your prediction is successful, and GBP/USD rises in value.

New buy price = 1.3618
New sell price = 1.3617

As you bought the pair for 1.3117, you could now ‘sell’ and close out the position at the new sell price of 1.3617. This is a 50-pip move. To calculate your profit, you would multiple this by your initial stake size of £1 per point.

£1 x 50 = £50

If this scenario had gone the other way and GBP/USD fell by 50 pips, you would calculate losses in the same way, so your capital loss would also be £50. You would need to transfer sufficient funds into your account in order to cover your losses when the position was closed.

Access more forex pairs with us than any other broker**

How much can you make trading forex?

In the tables below, we’ve calculated some more examples to show how a trader could hypothetically make a profit or loss on their positions, based on the daily average true range of the currency pair in 2021. These pairs differ in margin rates and minimum stake sizes, so they would bring differing returns on average.

Remember that trading with leverage​ is a double-edged sword, meaning that if the price moves against you, you could lose the entire value of the funds in your account.

Currency pairMargin ratePriceMargin requirementStake sizeAverage true rangePotential profit/loss
EUR/USD3.3%1.1133£111.56£5 per point68£340
USD/JPY3.3%121.96£122.20£5 per point62.5£312.50
AUD/NZD5%1.0772£107.71£5 per point54.5£272.50
EUR/CHF3.3%1.0318£103.37£5 per point44.5£222.50
USD/CAD3.3%1.2483£125.07£5 per point86£430

This shows how much you could make with a stake size of £5 per point. If you were to double this, you could make (or lose) even more potentially, as shown below with a £10 per point stake size.

Currency pairMargin ratePriceMargin requirementStake sizeAverage true rangePotential profit/loss
EUR/USD3.3%1.1133£111.56£10 per point68£680
USD/JPY3.3%121.96£122.20£10 per point62.5£625
AUD/NZD5%1.0772£107.71£10 per point54.5£540
EUR/CHF3.3%1.0318£103.37£10 per point44.5£445
USD/CAD3.3%1.2483£125.07£10 per point86£860

Is it easy to sign up, deposit, and start trading?

Yes, if you take the following steps:

  1. Open a live account.
  2. Complete our application form online via your desktop, mobile, or tablet device. You may have to provide supporting documentation to verify your identity.
  3. Fund your account via the ‘Account’ tab on the navigation bar of the platform. You can also withdraw funds if you ever need to from this section.
  4. Choose your product between spread betting and contracts for difference (CFDs).
  5. Decide on a strategy – you can go long or short, depending on if you think the forex pair will increase or decrease in value.
  6. Once you have deposited sufficient funds for your position size, start trading.

The importance of risk-management

Given the risks of trading with margin and leverage, many traders decide to incorporate risk-management controls in their positions, especially when trading on a short-term basis, like intraday trading or scalping.

Examples of order types that you can apply to your forex charts include traditional stop-loss orders (the most common type), trailing stop-losses (which follow behind the price when it moves in a favourable direction helping to lock in potential profits), and guaranteed stop-losses​. Whereas the first two controls don’t take into account slippage or gapping within price charts, GSLOs can close you out of your position at the exact price you specify, regardless of both circumstances, for a small premium fee.

Read our money and risk-management guide​ for further information on how to protect your capital.

How to make money with forex trading

  1. Outline your goals. Are you looking for smaller and more frequent or larger but less frequent wins? This all depends on your strategy and how short-term you plan to trade.
  2. Choose your product. For example, spread betting may be more suited to those making multiple trades throughout the day, as you won’t have to pay taxes on profits*. Learn how to spread bet forex​.
  3. Decide on a currency pair. We offer 300+ major, minor, and exotic currency crosses on our platform.
  4. Learn what moves the forex market​​. Things like political instability, interest rates, inflation, import and export prices, and the overall health of the economy can have a huge impact on currency prices. How does forex trading work?
  5. Assess your risk. The average risk per trade is often a small percentage of your available trading capital, such as a maximum of 2%, according to BabyPips.com.

Open a live account now to get started and deposit your minimum margin requirement.

Can you make a living trading forex?

In summary, you could live off trading currency for profit if you dedicate enough time, energy, and diligence into your trades.

Depending on the capital in your account, you would need to determine a specific pip value and stake size in order to capture profits over the long-term and see what works for your strategy.

For example, starting with a larger amount of capital would give you more flexibility and allow you to bet with a greater stake size, such as £10 or £20 per point, compared with a smaller amount of capital that would cover a £2 or £5 stake size. This would multiply with your pip movements also, so the greater the currency price movements, the greater the potential for profit (or loss).

However, this will differ for each individual trader, so there are no fixed figures that everyone should strive towards.


Can you start to trade forex with £200?

When trading with us, it doesn’t cost anything to open a forex account, but you’ll need to deposit a minimum margin requirement depending on the currency pair you choose. For example, a low stake size of £0.30 per point would allow you to open a spread betting position of around £110 for the EUR/USD or £130 for the GBP/USD. View our forex pair offerings, spreads, and margin rates for the market.

What are the requirements for forex trading?

There aren’t many requirements to become a forex trader as many don’t have previous qualifications within the financial markets. However, it may be a good idea to brush up your knowledge at the start, so read our guide on forex trading for beginners to learn about costs, strategies, and tips.

*Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and can change or may differ in a jurisdiction other than the UK.
**Most Currency Pairs, Forex Brokers 2020 Awards

CMC Markets is an execution-only service provider. The material (whether or not it states any opinions) is for general information purposes only, and does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment or other advice on which reliance should be placed. No opinion given in the material constitutes a recommendation by CMC Markets or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. The material has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research. Although we are not specifically prevented from dealing before providing this material, we do not seek to take advantage of the material prior to its dissemination.

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