We look at the basics of trading platforms, methodology to choose one, and some of the best trading platforms for beginners.
Want to jump straight to one of the best trading platforms? Most of our users prefer WebTrader for multi-assets trading.
If you are looking to actively trade the markets, you will want to pay more attention to your broker’s trading platform. Unlike buy-and-hold investors who do not need to get the best price every time out, active, or short-term traders live and die by their ability to get a low price. So that is why finding a broker with a top trading platform can be so important.
The best trading platforms offer traders a way to place orders, track a watchlist of stocks, commodities, cryptos, currencies, and funds, receive alerts for securities that may be interesting trades, offer tools to analyze complex options trades, and much more quickly and intuitively. A top trading platform may also provide streaming news and can even get you a better trade execution, helping you secure the most attractive price possible.
What is a Trading Platform?
A trading platform is a software used for online trading: opening, closing, and managing market positions through a financial intermediary such as an online broker. Online trading platforms are frequently offered by brokers either for free or at a discount rate in exchange for maintaining a funded account and/or making a specified number of trades per month. The best trading platforms offer a mix of robust features and low fees.
When you are opening an account with CAPEX.com, you can access two trading platforms for free, without maintaining fees or other restrictions.
Understanding Trading Platforms
A trading platform acts like a network-based marketplace that provides users with unlimited functionalities to place trades, browse catalogs of financial instruments, and monitor accounts through financial institutions outside the bank dealer community.
The best trading platforms are equipped with a combination of additional features, such as premium research information, real-time quotes, news feeds, or charting tools to facilitate the real-time availability of trading information and technical analysis.
Trading platforms are also tailored to suit the needs of specific markets, such as futures markets, stocks, options, or currencies. By providing capabilities tailored to each market structure, trading platforms offer a greater deal of choices on how to execute trades and manage trades.
There are a variety of trading platforms that can be divided into two: one set are the prop platforms which are developed by the brokers themselves while there are other sets of platforms that are developed by companies that specialize in the development of trading platforms. Each has its own set of features and own set of abilities.
While the prop platforms work with that specific broker and have features tailored to the broker, it becomes difficult for the trader if he wants to change the broker as he then needs to get used to the new platform used by the new broker.
Also, since the online broker’s primary business is to earn commissions and charges, they may not be able to focus a lot of time and resources in building and customizing their platform with high-quality features as that is not their primary business.
Though the platforms developed by them are of high quality and have excellent execution speeds, it makes it difficult for the trader to understand all the complex features and hence be preferred by high-end traders.
On the other hand, platforms developed by companies focused on developing trading software, like MetaTrader, look more high class and user-friendly. But they lack customization as far as the broker is concerned which might be a drawback with certain traders who would prefer a professional trading platform that is integrated with the broker feeds. Also, they need to sell these platforms to the brokers which means that they could embed certain features which favor the broker, and which may not be liked by the trader. But their user-friendliness and the ease of moving from one broker to another broker, that such platforms provide, cannot be matched.
With our CFD trading account you’ll have access to several trading platforms:
- Web-based platform
- Mobile trading app
- MetaTrader 5
These can all be tailored to suit your trading style and preferences, with personalized alerts, interactive charts, pattern recognition, daily analyst rating, and risk management tools.
How to choose the best Trading Platform for your needs
Once a decision has been made to apply some rigorous selection criteria, the next obvious question would be, what criteria do we use to choose the best platforms in the industry?
Find out if a chosen https://demo-cosmos.capex.com/trading-platform platform is comfortable enough to work with it daily. All features and functions must be easy and understandable for you.
For example, look at the platform and decide whether you like it at the first sight or not. If the answer is «No», then definitely check something else. Of course, in the future, you will have to learn the details of any platform to work with it professionally. But basic buttons and options should be understandable for you immediately after opening a board. Do not forget to check the graphics too.
Reliability is the first factor as whatever you trade, only if you could get back your profits, would it make sense to do any good trading at all. So, the reliability of execution and the reliability of the deposit and withdrawals are the first key factors.
Does the platform have a slick mobile app? This makes online trading flexible and convenient. The growth of trading apps has coincided with the evolution of user preferences, with a growing number of people opting to manage their money through tablets or smartphones.
The best trading platforms are popular all over the world thanks to their user-friendly interface, a variety of technical analysis tools, and the integrated programming language for developing technical indicators and trading robots. Of course, the ease of use of the platform is another criterion but nowadays, most platforms use some standardized software for trading.
The spreads and other fees that the brokerage charges whenever you are using their trading platforms are also key factors that need to be looked at. These may eat into your profits and if they are too much – especially when you are scalping and day trading, then your profits will never grow as you would like them to.
The leverage, margin requirements, and the ease of deposit and withdrawals are other factors as well, but these are minor when compared to those that are listed above.
If you find a reliable platform based on the above criteria, we are sure that the trader would be ready to put up with slightly less leverage and a bit of hassle while making a deposit.
CFD or Forex Trading Platforms
A forex trading platform is a software interface provided by brokers to their customers to give them access as traders in the forex and CFD markets. This may be an online, web-based portal, mobile app, a standalone downloadable program, or any combination of the three.
These platforms may also provide tools for research in addition to tools for order processing.
- A forex trading platform provides foreign exchange market access to traders.
- Some clients prefer brokerages and platforms that give them access to all asset classes and integrate trading into a single platform.
- MetaTrader 5 (MT5) has become a de facto standard among forex trading platforms.
- Automated trading via these platforms can remove psychological and emotional factors from trading strategies.
- Automated trading is not without issues and requires monitoring and consideration to operate successfully.
Some forex brokers offer their own custom trading platforms for order processing and research, but many provide order access through integrated trading and research programs.
Many brokerages offer a wide array of forex trading platform solutions for both retail and institutional clients. In the institutional markets, banking or brokerage companies may also build proprietary forex trading platforms to meet their internal needs with trades executed through institutional trading channels.
Many platforms also offer forex charting packages to determine the direction on a given currency pair in conjunction with other technologies such as predictive forecasting software and pattern recognition to get an edge in forex trading.
Exchange or Crypto Trading Platforms
Crypto trading platforms are digital marketplaces, where you exchange money to get anything you need. But on crypto trading platforms, you trade one digital money, a.k.a. cryptocurrency. It is a lot like foreign exchange, where people buy for or against the market.
Many people use this trading concept to hedge their funds against inflation by saving or investing in a cryptocurrency. Some investors are just there to buy or sell for profit. This means crypto trading is fast becoming a targeted market for crypto lovers. Others bet for or against the market and gain profit or loss from their crypto predictions. Whatever the motive, crypto exchanges and crypto apps are a huge business for many people, and we know you are eager to get in on all that action.
As the crypto market grows, more people are looking for ways to understand the mystery behind blockchain and how they can benefit from it. As a result, essential factors streamline their search for the right crypto trading platform to purchase and sell their digital assets.
One of the most crucial factors to look out for when choosing the best crypto trading platforms for beginners is security.
As far as any digital business is concerned, security is one of the major components you should take seriously. You want to be sure your investment is safe and not lying in the account of some two-bit, no-good thief. That is why it is important that the crypto trading platform you are choosing is legal and safe from hackers.
Exchanges bring their own steep learning curve as you’ll need to get to grips with the technology involved and learn how to make sense of the data. Many exchanges also have limits on how much you can deposit, while accounts can be expensive to maintain.
For these reasons and not only, CFD trading platforms offering a wide range of cryptocurrencies might also be an interesting alternative to consider.
CFDs (with CFD meaning contract for difference) are derivatives, which enable you to speculate on cryptocurrency price movements without taking ownership of the underlying coins. You can go long (‘buy’) if you think a cryptocurrency will rise in value, or short (‘sell’) if you think it will fall.
Both are leveraged products, meaning you only need to put up a small deposit – known as margin – to gain full exposure to the underlying market. Your profit or loss is still calculated according to the full size of your position, so leverage will magnify both profits and losses.
Investment or Stock Trading Platforms
Investment platforms allow you to buy shares, bonds, and ETFs in one place and hold for the long term.
Many of the platforms let investors choose a ready-made portfolio that matches their risk appetite.
Over the past decade, old-fashioned stockbrokers have started to face competition from a new generation of discount brokers offering investment platforms and mobile apps. This is because discount brokers focus on providing low-cost and straightforward access to investing for people who have little or no experience.
If you want to know more about investing, read our Beginner’s guide to stock investing.
Some platforms offer automated guidance on which options might be most suitable for you, which is sometimes called portfolio builder. This does not actually count as financial advice – it just supports it helps you make the decision for your needs. This feature empowers investors to select their optimum blend of stocks according to their preferences, trading styles, saving them time and energy.
However, some of these platforms do also offer access to real-time news, market research, and in-depth analysis in return for an extra fee.
Investing and trading are similar terms that some people will sometimes use interchangeably – but there are significant differences for you to be aware of.
Investors buy shares outright in the hope that they will increase in price and can be sold later for a profit. They uphold the traditional mantra of buying low and selling high – known as going long. Investors will take positions over a longer period, attempting to profit from share price changes as well as dividend payments.
While this means that they might need more initial capital to get started when compared to trading, their losses would be capped at this initial outlay. That said, investors should be aware that they might receive back less than they initially invested.
Trading stocks means that you are speculating on a share’s price movements with derivatives like CFDs – without taking direct ownership.
With CFDs, you can ‘buy’ (go long) the shares if you think the stock’s price will rise, or you can ‘sell’ (go short) if you think the stock’s price will fall. Shorting with derivatives can be an effective way to hedge against downward price movements in your non-leveraged investment portfolio, or it can be a way to generate profits outright from shares that are falling in value. But when you go short your potential losses are theoretically uncapped because there is no limit on how high something’s price can rise.
Best Trading Platforms
Some of the most famous trading platforms include MetaTrader, Ninja Trader, cTrader, and CAPEX WebTrader.
MetaTrader 4 and 5
By far one of the most popular currency trading platforms is MetaTrader 5 (MT5). MT5 was released in 2010 as an additional platform to MetaTrader 4, which is also one of the most popular currency trading platforms. In 2019 and 2020, MT5 has been awarded the ‘best forex trading platform’ and the ‘best CFD trading platform’ at Finance Magnates Awards.
Both MT4 and MT5 are flexible trading systems that allow for the trading of forex. It's important to note that MT5 is not an update to MT4 but rather a system with a different purpose. MT5, unlike MT4, allows for the trading of stocks, CFDs, and futures in addition to forex. Both provide fundamental and technical analysis to help traders make informed trading decisions.
MT5 trading platform offers superior tools for comprehensive price analysis, use of algorithmic trading applications (trading robots, Expert Advisor), and copy trading. Also, it supports the hedging method, which allows opening multiple positions of the same financial instrument, of the opposite or same direction. This feature is widely used in Forex trading.
MetaTrader 5 delivers a powerful trading system with the Market Depth and a system of separate accounting of orders and trades. It supports both order accounting systems: the traditional netting system and the hedging option system. Four order execution modes are available to meet various trading objectives: Instant, Request, Market, and Exchange execution. The platform supports all types of trade orders, including market orders, limit and stop orders, as well as trailing stops.
With such a diversity of order types and available execution modes, traders can use any trading strategy for successful work in the financial markets.
One of the most impressive features of your MetaTrader 5 is Algorithmic Trading. This feature implies automated trading using specialized applications — trading robots (Expert Advisors). The robots operate without the participation of the trader — they can analyze quotes and perform trading operations following an underlying algorithm.
Thousands of trading robots and technical indicators are available in the built-in Market of Trading Apps. Every product has a free trial version which you can test before deciding to pay for the full application version. All purchased applications are ready for immediate use.
NinjaTrader and cTrader
Ninjatrader and cTrader are a couple of the oldest platforms in the industry and are still preferred by a small section of traders for their ease of use and for their ability to be small but still pack a punch. They have some distinctive features that include the order entry and the type of orders that can be u through them, something which cannot be matched by the other platforms.
As the cTrader platform is available in a web browser, there hasn't been a strong emphasis placed on the development of mobile apps until recent times. Also, cTrader's auto-trading capabilities are very limited.
The NinjaTrader trading platform has been around since 2004 and is a Forex platform designed for active forex, futures, and stock traders. While the platform offers advanced charting, automated strategy development, and trade simulation, those who wish to execute trades from their platform must purchase a lifetime license or lease the platform on a quarterly or annual basis.
This factor may disqualify this online trading platform from some traders' lists of the best online forex trading platforms for beginners.
One of the main reasons MetaTrader platforms are so popular and commonly used is the fact they are free to the trader via their broker.
Specifically designed to streamline your trading, our platform is accessible from desktop and mobile. Built for both beginner and advanced traders, the CAPEX WebTrader puts unique tools at your fingertips to help you make the best trading decisions.
Advanced Charting & Analytics
Get the most out of your trading strategy. Unleash the power of CAPEX WebTrader’s charting and analytical capabilities – with 6 chart types and over 90 popular indicators to choose from.
Intuitive and easy-to-use
Trade on a highly responsive platform designed to offer a top user experience. Available on all devices, for investors of any level.
Risk management tools
CAPEX WebTrader has complex built-in risk management tools, allowing you to tailor your risk level according to your skills. Safeguard your trades with Stop Loss and Take Profit orders + many more features.
Pattern recognition system
A leading industry tool that offers you updated technical analysis, informing you of specific trends or scenarios that you cannot afford to miss.
With CFDs on over 2,100 instruments to choose from, each organized by category, the CAPEX WebTrader is highly customizable.
Negative balance protection
When trading with CAPEX.com, our negative balance protection policy means that your losses will never exceed the funds in your account.
Integrated 3rd Party Features
Created to improve user experience, the platform supports an interactive trading activity with high-end research tools that help you interpret market data
Free, unlimited practice
Take our online trading platform for a test drive – open a free CAPEX demo account. It’s quick and easy, and you will get $50,000 virtual funds to practice with.
- Trading platforms are software tools used to manage and execute market positions.
- Platforms range from basic order entry screens for beginner investors to complex and sophisticated toolkits with live streaming quotes and charts for advanced traders.
- Traders and investors should take multiple considerations into account and balance trade-offs when selecting the best trading platform for their needs.
What are the Things That you Should Look for in a Platform?
Among several factors, the key would be the reliability, ease of use, trading conditions, and also the license and regulation of the brokerage offering the trading platform, as this is critical for best execution policy and fund safety among others. A perusal of their website and their reviews on various websites would help in decision-making.
What Forex Software Should I use?
If you are a technical trader, make sure that you have a good charting platform that you are comfortable with and has all the tools that you need. This is especially important as your entire trading is based on this. If you are a fundamental trader, make sure that you have access to all the news and analysis from TipRanks and other similar news platforms on a regular basis so that you are aware of what is going on around the world and can then make informed decisions.
Which is the Best Trading Software?
Though there is no easy and straightforward answer to this question, CAPEX Academy has spent all its effort in doing all the running and work for you to present the lists. These would be a particularly useful guide for choosing the trading software that is not only the best but also what you are most comfortable with.
Is there a good trading platform for beginners?
Is there trading software professionals use?
Professionals are using Interactive Brokers, TradeStation, and TD Ameritrade.
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