What is a Trading Platform?
In a nutshell, a trading platform is the intermediary software between traders and financial institutions which enables investors to open their set market positions, place trades and monitor their accounts.
Normally this platforms come as an all in one software bundling different features like charts, research tools, educational materials, live feed etc.
If you want to open, close, or manage your financial positions in the market, you will need to use a trading platform. These are usually online and are offered by brokers either at a discount or sometimes as a bonus for:
- Maintaining a certain amount of funds inside of the account;
- Making a sufficient number of trades per month.
When looking for the best trading platform for your particular situation, two main things need always to be evaluated:
- Low trading fees
- Powerful features that allow you to trade and analyze market data from many different perspectives.
Trading platforms are online tools that allow you to execute your set market positions and manage your brokerage account. Some brokers offer a desktop version of their platform as well as an mobile version.
There are many different types of platforms, with some allowing for only simple “order entry screens,” while other more sophisticated platforms have complex toolkits that allow for advanced charting, streaming news, and social trading updates.
When choosing the best platform for your situation, investors and traders need to evaluate each platform across a variety of variables, including:
- Charting capabilities;
- Customer service;
Trading Platform Basics
Trading platform software (whether a desktop app, mobile app, or online interface) is the tool that traders and investors use to monitor their accounts and place trades in their markets. Each platform will have a different feature set, such as charting tools, news feeds, real-time quotes, and professional research. Some platforms are even designed for specific markets such as foreign exchange, futures, stocks, or options markets.
In general, platforms can be broken into two broad categories:
- commercial platforms and
- proprietary (or “prop”) platforms.
Commercial platforms usually have a comprehensive feature set and are designed for retail investors and day traders. Some of the features that are often found bundled with the commercial platforms are charting features, research, news feeds, and educational materials.
Proprietary platforms are unique because they are developed by large brokerages for their specific needs and requirements.
Many traders use more than one platform depending on the volume of trades they go through in a given month. Also, some platforms are designed for specific trading styles. If you’re new to trading, the article “Trading for Beginners” at business24-7.com provides a valuable introduction to day trading.
Choosing Your Platform
When trying to choose which platform is best for you, there are two main categories you need to be aware of. Those categories are the fees associated with trading and the features that will be available to you within the platform. For example, if you plan on trading options, you will need to find platforms that are specifically designed to visualize options strategies. Not all platforms can do this.
Probably the most important of these two factors is, of course, the fees. For example, if you plan on short term trading as your style, you will need to find a platform that offers very low fees per trade. Connected with this, you need to make sure that your low fee includes all of the features that you need. Without the right information and features, you will be unable to make profitable trades.
Some platforms are used across multiple brokers and markets. Other platforms are only available with the specific broker. Because of this, you need to make sure that the reputation of your broker (or intermediary) is of the highest quality before you commit yourself to their customised platform. If something goes wrong in their business and their platform is shut down, you will need to have a backup platform to continue trading.
One last variable to be aware of is that trading platforms and brokerage accounts often have minimum requirements. Minimum requirements for an account vary widely between brokerages with some brokers offering $0 account balance minimums and other brokerages requiring a minimum of $25,000 in equity at all times. In general, the higher the minimum requirement, the more significant the number of features that come connected with that account.
Best Trading Platform in 2020
The number of different platforms available today is astronomical. However, there are five leading providers that are used by millions of people every day. Follow along to find our list of the best trading platforms for your trading needs in 2020:
- IQ Option
1. IQ Option: Best For Binary Options
IQ Option is a highly regulated broker with a long standing tradition. They started as a binary options broker, but expanded their service since then, now offering almost all assets from cryptocurrencies, forex, CFD's to gold and other commodity trading.
The company started operating in 2013. Having their main quarters in Limassol, Cyprus, they are authorized and regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) only. IQOPTION LTD is registered at St. Vincent and Grenadines, this entity is not regulated.
2. eToro: Best Social Trading Platform
eToro is an established social trading company, operating since 2007. It is an FCA regulated entity when operating in the UK, an Australian entity in Australia, and a Cypriot entity for international customers.
eToro has been awarded as the best social platform – social trading means you can follow other traders and copy their investment strategies. Besides that they are highly regulated by the top tier regulators and have a long standing tradition offering different assets from forex, options, CFD's to cryptocurrencies.
3. Plus500: Best For CFD Trading
Plus500 is s a fundamental CFD provider offering CFDs over shares, stocks, cryptocurrencies, forex and other financial instruments established in Israel and listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange.
Plus500 CY Ltd authorised and regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (Licence No. 250/14).
We would recommend this platform to mid and advanced traders who are looking to trade CFDs on highly sophisticated and easy to use platform.
4. Forex.com: Best for forex trading
Forex.com is a highly regulated forex broker offering a wide range of different currency pairs and CFD's. They are also known offering high quality technical research tools and a solid trading platform.
Forex.com is a global industry leader and in the US is the primary competitor of OANDA. Forex.com is owned by the publicly traded GAIN Capital (NYSE: GCAP) and has invested heavily in custom-built systems and platforms over the past few years.
5. OandA: Best trading technology
OANDA excels above the other brokers reviewed here in the area of its proprietary trading technology which includes desktop and web-based platforms and integration with MetaTrader 4 on desktop and mobile.
With roots in academia and officially founded in the 1900s, OANDA is an early pioneer in forex and has built a reputation for superb technology and comprehensive product offerings. OANDA services customers throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.
6. AvaTrade: Best Overall
AvaTrade is a Dublin-based multinational Forex broker that has been increasing its customer base to over 200,000 clients since it was established in 2006.
They offer a variety of assets to trade with: from forex, digital currencies, bonds and binary options to different CFD's and cryptocurrencies. They offer a great support in almost every language, they are fast and reliable.
The broker is highly regulated by the top tier regulators and is considered as a safe trading option.
7. Pepperstone: Best For Experienced Traders
Pepperstone is an online digital options broker from St. Vincent, operating since 2014. Since 2016, they are a member of the International Financial Commission.
All in all, it is a trustworthy platform as it is regulated by FinaCom and comes with a Verify My Trade audit. It also has a lot of interactive learning material. The interface is user-friendly, the design is clean and very intuitive.
The broker has a lot of awards, and many positive reviews from traders, on the platform. Overall we would recommend it, especially if you are a trading beginner.
8. FXCM: Most diverse platform
FXCM is a UK based forex broker which offers some CFD’s as well and is regulated by some top tier regulators like FCA and ASIC.
The platform comes with great technical research tools and is a great option for beginners. They account opening is super fast and their support is highly educated when it comes to solving problems.
No minimum deposit required so feel free to give it a shot – inactivity fees charged only after a year.
- 1 What is a Trading Platform?
- 2 Best Trading Platform in 2020
- 3 1. IQ Option: Best For Binary Options
- 4 2. eToro: Best Social Trading Platform
- 5 3. Plus500: Best For CFD Trading
- 6 4. Forex.com: Best for forex trading
- 7 5. OandA: Best trading technology
- 8 6. AvaTrade: Best Overall
- 9 7. Pepperstone: Best For Experienced Traders
- 10 8. FXCM: Most diverse platform