Base currency definition

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - Y

See all glossary trading terms

Base currency has a particular significance in relation to IG's platform. Here, we define base currency in general investing and explain what it means to you when trading with IG Bank.

Base currency explained

In trading the term base currency has two main definitions:

  • The base currency is the first currency quoted in a forex pair: the two currencies that investors use to trade forex.
  • The accounting currency used by banks and other businesses, which is usually the domestic currency of the country the company is operating in.

When buying (or going long on) a currency pair with IG Bank, the base currency is the single unit being bought. It is also known as the primary currency. 

The second currency in the pair is known as the quote (or the counter currency), and represents the amount of that particular currency needed to buy a single unit of the base currency. As such a long forex trade will involve buying the base currency while selling the quote currency.

For instance, when trading EUR/USD, the euro is the base currency and the US dollar is the quote. If it is trading at 1.0502, then 1.0502 dollars would be needed to buy a single euro.

With IG Bank

The base currency on IG's platform refers to your account currency, or the main currency you chose to operate in when you open your IG Bank account.

Visit our forex education section

Find out more about the terms associated with forex, take a look at the forex education section.

Contact us

Our helpdesk is open 24 hours a day from 9am Sunday to 11pm Friday.