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Futures trading is a complicated business, even for experienced investors, and so is shopping for a brokerage to use for futures and commodities trading.
It’s not just about contract fees and trading platforms (although both are important factors to consider).
Trading in futures requires looking for a broker that offers the highest level of real-time data and quotes, an intuitive trading platform, an abundance of charting and screening tools, technical indicators and a wealth of research — plus the ability to leverage your account with reduced day-trading margin requirements.
All of that, and you still want low costs and high-quality customer support.
These are the features and services we focused on in our rankings, concentrating on the world of online discount brokers that serve self-directed traders (not pros) seeking to quickly execute their own futures strategies.
One note before we dive into the top-ranked brokers for trading futures: Investing in futures is a strategy that earns a few caveats from NerdWallet.
It comes with risk, as do all investing strategies. But futures trading is even riskier: You’re making a bet on the direction a market is going to go, an outcome that is difficult for even professional analysts to predict correctly.
Best futures brokers for traders
In other words: You can do a lot of research, feel confident in your prediction and still lose a lot of money very quickly.
If you’re new to futures trading and want to dabble in this strategy, you should understand how to trade futures, determine the risks involved, and have your financial bases covered.
And if you decide you’d rather stick to stock trading, which — while still risky — is vanilla compared to futures?
Check out our list of the best brokers for stock trading instead.
The best online brokers for trading futures
Dayana Yochim contributed to this article.