Best Futures Brokers in 2024 • Benzinga

Benzinga readers often choose Interactive Brokers, Plus500 or NinjaTrader as the best futures brokers.

Futures trading history is as simple as understanding the concept of farmers planting crops every spring, and then, every fall, farmers harvesting grain and locking in prices early in the season, rather than later. Farmers were originally the ones who taught Wall Street how to trade futures. (No lie!) That’s why you need access to the best futures brokerage.

In choosing a broker, serious futures traders must balance low commissions, intuitive platforms, excellent customer service and up-to-date research options. Traders also need charting and screening tools to guide decision-making.

In a world where futures trading is already a high-risk endeavor, it’s even more of a risk if a platform is clunky, a trading app can’t keep up, or customer support has no idea what a Fibonacci indicator is. Everything must tick along as smoothly as a Rolex Cellini tracks the seconds in a day.

Start with our guide to finding an online futures broker platform to make your trading experience seamless.

Quick Look at the Best Futures Brokers:

8 Best Futures Brokers

Here are Benzinga’s top picks for the best futures trading platform.

1. Best for US Mobile Users: Plus500

Plus500 is a global multi-asset fintech group that operates trading platforms globally, offering a range of trading products including CFDs, Share dealing, and Futures trading (US).

Highlights of this platform include:

  • Quick onboarding
  • Simplified mobile trading
  • Easy-to-use platform
  • Offers 2800+ CFDs, 2700+ Shares, and a variety of Futures (Metals, Crypto, Agriculture, Forex, Interest rates, Energy, Equity Index)
  • Free deposits and withdrawals
  • $100 minimum
  • 0.7% currency conversion fee per transaction, when the currency in your account is different from those traded

Because Plus500 doesn’t charge a commission and only profits on spreads, you save money and don’t have to worry about overpriced fees. If you’re a beginner, there are insights, the Trading Academy and webinars you can check out on YouTube. You can jump into Plus500, make the most of your expertise, build your portfolio and quickly turn a profit.

  • Only charges spreads
  • Low minimums
  • Free deposits and withdrawals
  • Remember that CFDs can be quite risky and you should manage your portfolio accordingly

2. Best for Desktop Traders: NinjaTrader

NinjaTrader has an amazing trading platform for those just beginning their trading careers as well as for advanced traders. Its extensive collection of technical analysis tools is perfect for beginners utilizing a demo account, and it even offers a 2-week free trial when you register.

If you want to use NinjaTraders software, you can get it for free when you fund a brokerage account or you can lease the software. You will get access to charts, simulated trading, and market analysis, the essentials for futures trading, even if you get the software for free.

  • 2-week free trial
  • Free software options
  • Simulated trading options
  • Software leases could prove to be pricey

3. Best for Global Traders: Interactive Brokers

  • Securely through Interactive Brokers’ website

    Securely through Interactive Brokers’ website

    Best For:

    Active and Global Traders

Interactive Brokers offers low commissions for futures traders from USD 0.25 to 0.85 per contract, with the ability to trade commodity futures and futures options globally on 30+ market centers. Furthermore, they offer industry low margin rates from 4.58% or less, powerful futures trading tools including their ComboTrader, SpreadTrader, and Index Arbitrage Meter, and educational material for novice futures traders.

  • Several trading options
  • Unique market information
  • Low fee options
  • May be too complex for novice traders

4. Best for High Volume Traders: Discount Trading

Futures traders looking for volume discounts have plenty of options, but few make trading as simple and affordable as Discount Trading. For starters, Discount Trading doesn’t just offer affordable commissions – they have some of the cheapest trading fees of any futures broker currently on the market!

If you make only a single futures trade each month, your commission will be a mere 49 cents per side. However, if you’re an active trader flipping more than 50,000 contracts per month, your commission will be just 19 cents.

  • Low cost trading
  • Diminishing fee options
  • Can volume trade with ease
  • Smaller range of assets available

5. Best Software for Trading Futures: Optimus Futures

Optimus Futures is a discount futures broker geared towards both beginner and experienced traders alike.

With low account minimums, fast account approvals and easy funding and withdrawals, Optimus Futures is an ideal solution for anyone interested in trading CME Group’s micro futures with free platforms and low margins. Optimus customers also get access to dedicated staff to address your trading needs at every step, from initial account application and platform set-up to providing ongoing education and resources to help you learn more about the futures markets via guides, videos, podcasts, and articles.

  • Low minimums
  • Dedicated customer support
  • Easy platform setup

6. Best for Low Deposit Requirement: Tickmill

Tickmill is a platform that is designed to give you access to all the asset classes in which you might want to invest, including CFDs, precious metals, stocks, commodities, options and futures. Because you gain access to exclusive analysis items and trading tools, you have a much easier time managing your futures investments.

Plus, you can invest in several futures exchanges with leverage up to 1:500, including:

  • CME
  • CBOT
  • ICE Futures Europe

Generally, you can invest in futures that relate to:

  • Stocks
  • Indices
  • Forex
  • Metals
  • Crypto
  • Energy assets

Certain futures are most popular, including an S&P 500 micro e-mini, NASDAQ 100 micro e-mini and micro Bitcoin futures.

You can buy into futures with low fees and transparent commissions. There’s also ultra-low latency and seamless trading for high-volume traders who are always on the go.

New offer! For new clients that sign up in the next 3 months and choose a trading platform (CQG Desktop or TradingView Pro), Tickmill will reimburse all the platform’s costs and fees for 3 months from the date of enrollment. For each trade on E-mini and Micro contracts, Tickmill reimburses up to 16% of your trading commissions.

  • Connects to several futures exchanges
  • Low fees
  • Valuable offers available
  • May confuse novice traders

7. Best for Early Investors: Generic Trade

Generic Trade has some of the lowest commission fees of any futures trader at a maximum of $0.59 per trade. Generic Trade prides itself on transparency and keeps its prices lower than other futures brokers by eliminating the need for salespeople and brokers.

The firm believes modern traders already have such a wealth of information at their disposal they mainly need a firm to execute their trades at the lowest cost. It also doesn’t have minimum account balances and volume requirements, making it accessible to most traders.

  • Low fees per trade
  • No sales team
  • Quality execution
  • Fees can accumulate for volume traders

8. Best for Advanced Traders: Tradestation

TradeStation offers 2 distinct account types: its basic TS GO account aimed at new trades and its more in-depth TS Select account aimed at more advanced traders looking for a comprehensive set of tools and research options.

There’s no minimum account balance required to open a TS GO account. TS Select accounts require a $2,000 minimum deposit.

  • Easy account setup
  • No minimums for GO users
  • Works well for advanced traders
  • High minimums for Pro users

How to Choose

Selecting one of the best futures brokers isn’t just about flipping through rankings and reviews.

It involves a deeper understanding of your own trading needs and objectives.

Before you leap into choosing a broker based on its market reputation alone, invest time in recognizing what your investment journey looks like.

Are you aiming for quick trades or a long-term holding strategy?

This decision is crucial because it directly influences your preference in evaluating brokerage fees and commission structures.

Every trader’s path is unique, and your broker should align with your financial roadmap, ensuring that the associated costs don’t eat into your profits unnecessarily.

Assessing Your Trading Needs and Goals

Recognizing your trading style and what you aim to achieve in the future market is a critical step before selecting a broker. Whether your focus is on agricultural commodities, metals, or financial instruments, identifying your niche will guide you to the best brokers for futures trading that cater specifically to your interests.

Understanding the volume of trades you plan to execute can significantly impact your choice of broker. If you’re inclined towards high-frequency trading, opting for a broker with lower transaction fees might be beneficial. On the other hand, if your strategy involves fewer, more calculated moves, a broker known for comprehensive research tools and market insights could provide more value to your trading endeavors.

Evaluating Brokerage Fees and Commission Structures

When scrutinizing the landscape of best futures brokers, attention to their fee structures is indispensable. Every broker employs a distinct methodology in imposing charges for trades, encompassing commission rates, monthly account fees, and margin rates. Selecting a broker whose fee structure complements your trading volume and strategy can make a significant difference in your profit margins. High-frequency traders, for instance, may find brokers with lower per-trade commissions more appealing, while those with lower trade volumes might prioritize brokers offering more robust analytical tools and support, even at a slightly higher cost.

Consideration of a broker’s commission structure is paramount, especially for those new to futures trading. The best brokers for futures trading not only offer competitive fees but also maintain transparency about any additional costs that may impact traders. This clear communication ensures that traders are not caught off guard by hidden fees or unexpected charges, thereby allowing for a more calculated and efficient approach to investing. Emphasizing the alignment of a broker’s fee structure with your trading goals is essential in fostering a profitable and enduring trading relationship.

What Matters Most When Trading Futures Contracts?

Ultimately, depending on the trader, the futures broker characteristic that matters to one trader may matter more or less to another. For example, each trader’s preference on a platform can vary widely. Not every trader will agree on what he or she would like to see on a broker’s platform. (Remember, not every painter prefers the same paintbrush, and the same goes for individual traders. Some don’t need all the bells and whistles.) 

Perhaps one thing that raises the most red flags is those pesky commissions and margin fees. It might be reckless to choose a broker just because it’s the cheapest, but, boy, is it easy to overpay. It’s important to figure out on the front end exactly how much money will be out during each trade.

And finally, customer service can make or break an experience with that particular broker. Determine your priorities, and use our guide to find the best futures brokers platform for you.

Security Measures Implemented by Leading Brokers

Ensuring the security of trades and personal information stands as a paramount concern among investors exploring the realm of futures trading.

Leading brokers, recognized for their excellence and reliability, adopt rigorous security measures to safeguard their client’s assets and data.

Among these protective strategies, the implementation of advanced data encryption standards emerges as a critical aspect.

It serves as a robust barrier against unauthorized access and cyber threats, proving essential in maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of transactions.

This section delves into the importance of data encryption and how top futures brokers integrate these technologies to secure investor trust and ensure a safe trading environment.

Investigation Into Data Encryption Standards

In the digital age, the scrutiny under which data encryption standards are placed is rigorous, especially when identifying the best futures brokers. These standards form the bedrock of a broker’s cybersecurity framework, employing complex algorithms to encode data, thereby shielding it from unauthorized interception and access. A leading broker’s commitment to leveraging cutting-edge encryption technologies is a clear indicator of their dedication to securing client assets and sensitive information.

Consequently, traders place their trust in brokers who not only understand the mechanics of encryption but also actively implement and update these protocols to combat evolving cyber threats. A robust encryption standard is non-negotiable for any broker aiming to rank among the best, ensuring that all communications and transactions remain confidential and secure from potential breaches. This proactive stance on security is what draws discerning investors towards reputable brokers, expecting a level of protection that matches the sophistication of the markets they engage with.

Choosing the best futures broker is pivotal for smart investing, as it aligns with your unique trading style, goals, and needs.

Recognizing your trading objectives, whether for quick trades or long-term strategies, helps in identifying a broker whose fee structures and commission rates enhance your profit margins rather than diminish them.

High volume traders in particular benefit from brokers with superior execution speeds and robust customer support, ensuring swift transactions and reliable assistance for complex issues.

Additionally, understanding margin requirements and leveraging options safely is crucial, emphasizing the need for brokers that offer clear guidance and risk management tools.

User-friendly features like mobile app functionality and robust charting tools enhance trading efficiency, while access to educational resources and a strong community support ongoing learning and shared insights.

Ensuring stringent security measures, especially advanced data encryption standards, is fundamental for protecting trades and personal information.

Ultimately, selecting a broker from the rankings and reviews that prioritize these elements ensures a secure, efficient, and profitable trading experience, tailored to your investment strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions


Futures trading requires the use of margin, so you typically can’t trade futures in a cash account. If you invest using options, then cash accounts don’t make options trading impossible. There are only a limited number of options-related strategies you can use with a cash account.


You must have a sufficient amount of capital to start day trading futures. You must also come to terms with the fact you may lose that capital. Some futures brokers require a $10,000 minimum deposit to start day trading futures.

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