There are actually three ways that institutions, corporations and individuals trade forex: the spot market, the forwards market, and the futures market. Forex trading in the spot market has always been the largest market because it is the "underlying" real asset that the forwards and futures markets are based on. In the past, the futures market was the most popular venue for traders because it was available to individual investors for a longer period of time. However, with the advent of electronic trading and numerous forex brokers, the spot market has witnessed a huge surge in activity and now surpasses the futures market as the preferred trading market for individual investors and speculators. When people refer to the forex market, they usually are referring to the spot market. The forwards and futures markets tend to be more popular with companies that need to hedge their foreign exchange risks out to a specific date in the future.
Most retail investors should spend time investigating a forex dealer to find out whether it is regulated in the U.S. or the U.K. (dealers in the U.S. and U.K. have more oversight) or in a country with lax rules and oversight. It is also a good idea to find out what kind of account protections are available in case of a market crisis, or if a dealer becomes insolvent.
An investor can profit from the difference between two interest rates in two different economies by buying the currency with the higher interest rate and shorting the currency with the lower interest rate. Prior to the 2008 financial crisis, it was very common to short the Japanese yen (JPY) and buy British pounds (GBP) because the interest rate differential was very large. This strategy is sometimes referred to as a "carry trade."
The problem is that this is where traders are most likely to succumb to overconfidence bias. It's not uncommon for traders to complete a winning streak and then believe that they can't get anything wrong in the future. To believe this is of course unwise, and is only going to end in failure. Make sure you always analyse your trading sessions and look at your wins and losses in detail.
Greed – There’s an old saying that you may have heard regarding trading the markets, it goes something like this: “Bulls make money, bears make money, and pigs get slaughtered”. It basically means that if you are a greedy “pig” in the markets, you are almost certainly going to lose your money. Traders are greedy when they don’t take profits because they think a trade is going to go forever in their favor. Another thing that greedy traders do is add to a position simply because the market has moved in their favor, you can add to your trades if you do so for logical price action-based reasons, but doing so only because the market has moved in your favor a little bit, is usually an action born out of greed. Obviously, risking too much on a trade from the very start is a greedy thing to do too. The point here is that you need to be very careful of greed, because it can sneak up on you and quickly destroy your trading account.
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Revenge – Traders experience a feeling of wanting “revenge” on the market when they suffer a losing trade that they were “sure” would work out. The key thing here is that there is no “sure” thing in trading…never. Also, if you have risked too much money on a trade (starting to see a theme here?), and you end up losing that money, there’s a good chance you are going to want to try and jump back in the market to make that money back….which usually just leads to another loss (and sometimes an even larger one) since you are just trading emotionally again.
More specifically, the spot market is where currencies are bought and sold according to the current price. That price, determined by supply and demand, is a reflection of many things, including current interest rates, economic performance, sentiment towards ongoing political situations (both locally and internationally), as well as the perception of the future performance of one currency against another. When a deal is finalized, this is known as a "spot deal." It is a bilateral transaction by which one party delivers an agreed-upon currency amount to the counter party and receives a specified amount of another currency at the agreed-upon exchange rate value. After a position is closed, the settlement is in cash. Although the spot market is commonly known as one that deals with transactions in the present (rather than the future), these trades actually take two days for settlement.