There are a handful of good platforms available in Forex trading. If you are new to trading, I would suggest that you narrow down you broker choices first, and then look at platforms rather than the other way around. If you do it the other way around, it could a little frustrating trying to decide which one platform is right for you, and then find a matching broker.
The reason that a trader may want to choose a platform first is if they:
- have a connection to a platform already – examples would be that they used it before or recommended by a friend/trading coach.
- want the flexibility of movement between brokers in the future
- plan on having multiple accounts with brokers and a single piece of software to trade from.
As a background, here are a few suggestions that might help beginners to find what they need to get started in the Forex market.
What is a Forex trading platform?
A trading platform serves as a sort of connection between traders and brokers. It shows charts, graphs, etc which will help in doing the analysis needed for trading.
Are Forex platforms free?
Most trading platforms are free of charge, some will be offered by your broker, but others may come at a small fee. Those that come with a small fee are very rare, and even in these cases, if you are an active trader the fee will be waived. Cost should not be your biggest concern in choosing a platform.
What do the different platforms do?
Make sure that the platform has the features you expect to use in your trading. Systems that have charts and graphs may be wonderful, but sometimes too much information can be overwhelming. If you can find a suitable program that provides a nice variety of technical tools that carry out a good analysis of the market, then that would make a good choice.
Some platforms offer a social trading component or add-ons that can be purchased. This allows traders to copy the trades of others on the network. Other platforms will allow traders to set up algorithmic trading. Be cautioned that automated trading strategies come with a potential for great loss, so an experienced trader needs to have a constant watch on trading activity if this is going to be used profitably.
What are the best trading platforms?
MetaTrader is by far the industry standard and is thus a great option for traders to consider. It started out and continues to be, an independent platform that is loved by traders and quickly gained popularity because of the third party add-ons and automated trading it enabled – in the form of scripts and expert advisors (EAs). It the late 2000s brokers started offering the possibility of trading on this platform and their position as the market leader was confirmed.
Support for the MetaTrader products (MT4 and MT5) are often given by the brokers, so should you have trouble setting it up, or have questions about how it can be used, just ask your broker. Even though the MT5 product is newer MT4 still seems to be the trader’s favorite.
Metatrader is fairly easy to set up and the basic trading functionalities like setting up trading orders and executing trades are easy to reach for new traders. The possibility of using EAs is still one of the main draws with this product. To write EAs you need to be a programmer in the MetaTrader language, but there is a store where you can buy EAs should you wish to include them in your trading strategy.
Who might benefit from trading with MetaTrader?
Anyone who needs support with MT4 or MT5, or would like to use the Expert Advisor scripts in trading. It is also well suited for traders who want to manage multiple accounts simultaneously or wish to easily move to another broker in the future.
Top MT4 brokers
|Broker||Min. Deposit||Regulated by||Next Step|
|$ 5||CySEC Regulated.||Open Account
|$5||CySEC Regulated.||Open Account
cTrader may not be the market leader, but it is another well known independent trading tool launched in 2010. At the time that cTrader launched, all that existed in the market was poor quality broker trading platforms and MetaTrader 4. MetaTrader at the time was not intuitive and the user interface was not appealing. With the Trader First approach, the cTrader product suite broke into the market with a promise of creating a trading tool that was easier to use for new traders and delivered better features in an easier-to-use way.
If you are looking for a platform that looks more modern then cTrader is a possibility, but it will not give you the same possibility of changing between brokers and keep the software. There are not as many brokers that offer this software choice, and there is not the same size of the community using it to offer help with creating EAs or offering support in the forums.
That said, it has very advanced charting, and there are more advanced features on setting orders than on MetaTrader, but again, the community that supports this tool is smaller than that of MetaTrader. I think this is largely due to the origins of the product – MetaTrader was once the single option and the community built and supported it, whereas cTrader came in as a commercial product trying to succeed where MetaTrader has failed.
Who might benefit from trading with cTrader?
Beginners who want good software, and want to trade with a specific broker that supports it. While the tool is still being developed with new features and the creator does offer support, the community is smaller and so it might be harder to get the help you need from them. That said, this is a great tool for new traders who want to have a tool that looks better and is slightly easier to get started with.