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A trading platform is a tool that allows you to trade financial instruments quickly and efficiently. Online trading has recently gained popularity, and special investment platforms make it easier for traders to trade assets. However, it is important to consider several important factors that characterize the best trading platforms before choosing the right one.
What is a trading platform?
A trading platform, is also called a trading, trading or trading platform. It is a tool that is made available by brokers. Brokers are service providers that enable the use of investment platforms. Of course, it is not free. For using them, brokers charge commissions and various fees.
A trading platform is a kind of link, between the investor and the financial markets. It allows you to buy and sell selected commodities, but also many useful features. Many of them also offer an extensive educational section, which a novice investor is sure to benefit from.
A trading platform for browser, mobile or desktop?
In the beginning, all platforms were similar in nature. They allowed only to place orders to buy and sell specific currencies. Nowadays, they are much more developed. They are no longer just desktop platforms, which were designed to be installed on a single workstation. They were simple to use, but it was only possible to log in to them on one device. Today, this problem is solved with mobile and browser-based platforms. The latter act like websites by locating to the trader’s investment account. Therefore, they can be used from anywhere in the world. All you need is access to a computer and the Internet.
Mobile trading platforms, on the other hand, lift the restrictions that are associated with the place of use. Therefore, the trader has no problem placing orders at any time. Mobile platforms allow logging in to the trader’s counter from either a tablet or a smartphone with Internet access. Placing orders is very simple so that you can easily make trades on your phone screen.
Does a trading platform work around the clock?
The trading platform allows you to trade Forex and CFD markets 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. Different world exchanges are open in different time zones. This allows you to trade assets all the time, except on weekends. The only assets that are also available on Saturday and Sunday are cryptocurrencies.
Brokers offering the best trading platforms
Choosing the right investment platform, should be based on the reliability and reputation of the broker, the software provided. After all, a broker is a company to which an investor entrusts his money. Therefore, he should open accounts with such a company that is reputable and licensed. This is an assurance that financed operations will be carried out without problems. The following will present the best brokers and the trading platforms they provide.
eToro – a global investment platform
eToro is by far the best trading platform for beginners. It can be said that it is a combination of a standard Forex platform and Copy Trading platform, which gives its clients the opportunity to emulate the best and experienced traders, through which the trader can increase his profitability.
The eToro broker provides more than 1,000 companies, as well as other assets, on which a trader can trade. Besides, it allows to educate oneself with the help of training materials that customers can use. For people who have not dealt with Forex and CFDs before, the eToro broker is a very good choice. It offers the ability to trade in assets such as currencies, exchanges, commodities, indices, cryptocurrencies and others, and also provides a mobile app.
The trading platform of this service provider is supported in Polish and is very simple and intuitive to use. The broker also offers a demo account, which allows you to get acquainted with the functions of the platform and check the basic strategies. The eToro trading platform is recommended for beginners and intermediate traders.
Markets.com – one of the best trading platforms
This broker is considered one of the best for beginners and advanced traders. In addition to offering the MetaTrader 5 trading platform, considered by many to be the most user-friendly, it also has a heavily developed educational section, which offers many ebooks, webinars and video lessons. It allows trading in assets such as stocks, currencies, commodities, cryptocurrencies and others. A demo trading platform is also available, so you don’t have to risk your own money right away.
Trade.com – many different tools
The Trade.com broker is sure to meet the needs of advanced and experienced traders. There is a MetaTrader 4 platform for Forex trading and MetaTrader 5 for cryptocurrency trading. Again, it is possible to try the functions of the platform on a demo account. In this case, it is possible to trade on live exchange and CFDs, currencies, cryptocurrencies, indices, commodities, ETFs and more.
AvaTrade – great support and training
This is the leading trading platform in Europe for many years. It features a unique design and the ability to check the tools and indicators on a demo account. It wins in terms of education. AvaTrade provides users with extensive video training materials, eBooks to deepen their trading knowledge. Although they are in English-language form, they are the best on the market.
IG Markets – the choice for advanced investors
IG Markets is based in the UK and is an excellent choice for advanced traders. In addition to the standard Forex and CDF offering, the trading platform also offers so-called spread betting. It is worth knowing that a trader in the UK has tax-free spread betting. This allows him to keep all profits for himself. IG Markets allows trading in the stock market, commodities, indices, cryptocurrencies and more (read also: Playing the stock market).
Plus500 – one of the largest investment platforms
Plus500 broker provides a very user-friendly platform for new users. In addition, it offers high-quality educational materials. It also gives you the opportunity to try out the features that the trading platform has in a demo account. It offers proprietary software and online trading on assets such as stocks, indices, cryptocurrencies, currencies, commodities, ETFs, etc.
Trading platform – how to choose the best one?
The aforementioned trading platforms are some of the dozens that are available on the market. With their help, it is possible to trade all basic assets, so it does not matter much which one a trader chooses in this regard.
Of course, an advanced trader looks for different solutions than a beginner. An experienced trader usually looks for the highest possible deposit to be realized, advanced indicators and tools.
However, an investment platform for a beginner trader should be slightly different. In particular, it should have the possibility to use a demo account, as well as a lot of educational materials and tutorials. What should you pay attention to when choosing a trading platform?
Is the demo account free?
The demo account for all of the above platforms is free. This allows you to get acquainted with and test the platform without making a deposit. In this case, the investor is not exposed to losses.
Besides, by rubbing several demo accounts on different platforms, the trader can compare them with each other. Then it is much easier to make the best decision. To use a demo account on the chosen platform, you usually only need to provide your name and email address.
The possibility to use a demo account, is also an opportunity to test investment strategies, without investment risk. This allows the investor to optimize the strategy, before putting it into practice and investing real money.
Licensed trading platforms
Reputable investment platforms are licensed and it is best to use such ones. On the market and on the Internet, you can find many that do not boast a license from European authorities, but by using their services, the investor bears a considerable risk. It is safest to choose such trading platforms that are supervised by financial commissions in European countries.
You can find out whether the selected broker is licensed from the website of the chosen platform. Service providers that are registered in Cyprus will have a license from CySEC, and brokers from the UK – from the FCA. These are the main institutions, and if the broker chosen by the investor has such a license, he is definitely more secure than a service provider who does not have it.
Commissions and first deposit
No investor, especially a beginner, wants to pay high commissions, so he should choose a platform that offers low transaction costs. A beginner will probably also be interested in the lowest possible first deposit. An investor should know that each service provider has a minimum entry threshold below which he will not be allowed to deposit funds into his account. One broker will have a threshold of $100, while another may have $1,000.
Available assets on the trading platform
The above platforms offer most of the available assets. Below is a detailed list of them:
- Forex – this is the over-the-counter foreign exchange market,
- Stocks – these are securities, someone combines property and non-property rights,
- Commodities – if an investor wants to diversify his investment profile, he can invest in commodities, such as silver, gold, oil, etc..,
- Cryptocurrencies – this market is growing all the time. You can see an increasing share of cryptocurrencies in the global CFD market,
- Other popular assets are indexes, bonds or ETFs.
The issue of licensing has already been arranged. It is now worth moving on to other important issues. Online trading has investment risks that cannot be avoided (read also: Online stock market simulator). However, there are several ways to minimize this risk:
- Practice and education will reduce the likelihood of losing funds. This is very important especially for beginners,
- Taking the time to create a game plan and sticking to the strategy adopted,
- Using a demo account to test the strategy.
The above methods can reduce the risk, but it is impossible to eliminate it completely.
Trading platform – what to follow when choosing it?
The main factors that affect the choice of an investment platform are:
- Deposit – it is worth checking what limits the service provider imposes and whether it is low for beginners and high enough for professionals,
- Spreads, commissions and fees – of course, everyone would like to use a platform that offers the lowest possible fees and spreads. It is not easy to compare brokers’ offers, as each of them describes the required fees differently. Regardless, a trader should choose a broker that allows the cheapest transactions,
- Extras – most beginners, the basic offer of service providers is enough. However, intermediate people are looking for something more. Such incentives could be bonuses, private events or stock market signals,
- Demo account – this is an indispensable element, associated with the trading platform. It allows you to take advantage of the features and tools of the platform, without the risk of losing money,
- Software – each investor should consider which software suits him best. Whether he is better at making trades on proprietary platforms, or whether, however, rather complex solutions such as MetaTrader 4 and 5 are more suitable,
- Stop-Loss limits – any reputable and respectable trading platform must have mechanisms that protect against excessive losses. This is done by stop-loss, which closes the position if the desired level of loss is exceeded,
- Opening and closing positions automatically – some trading platforms allow taking a position in a predetermined scenario. This means that the trader programs the platform to take the position of the game in the market and the conditions set by the trader will be met,
- Take-profit – this is a function that is the opposite of stop-loss. When the transaction reaches the profit desired by the trader, this option closes the position,
- Rolling stop-loss – allows you to secure the profit earned and limit possible losses.
Global trading platforms
It is common for service providers to provide the same investment platforms. The following are the best global software.
This is one of the most popular software. It is characterized by simplicity and intuitiveness. Moreover, with the help of MQL language codes, the trader can program his indicators and functions. He can also create automatic trading robots. This, however, requires knowledge and programming skills.
This is a refreshed version of the MetaTrader 4 platform. It has a better design and is more intuitive. It allows the trader to choose better time intervals. The MetaTrader trading platform is available for Linux, Mac and Windows computers. It can also be used on tablets and iOS and Android phones.
The Ctrader trading platform is a product of a Cypriot company and is designed, like the others – for Forex and CFD trading. It has a large number of time intervals, different types of charts, and the ability to open orders with a single click. In addition, it is equipped with the functionality of automatic strategies, and also supports custom indicators.
This trading platform is provided by broker XTB. It is equipped with an investment calculator, calculating for the trader the result of a trade by taking into account stop-loss and take-profit order levels. The xStation trading platform provides a number of advanced tools, designed for technical analysis, as well as closing all open positions at once with a single click.
The Ninjatrader trading platform is a good alternative to MetaTrader 4 outlined above. Recently, the developers of this software have released the ability to track the prices of cryptocurrencies such as LiteCoin, Bitcoin and BCH. Integration of the software with the Coinbase platform, allows clients to use historical charts of cryptocurrencies for free, analyze them and test the best strategies.
Investment platforms for the WSE and other markets
It is worth knowing that there are a number of platforms designed for trading on instruments from the regulated market, namely stocks, options, bonds, etc. The most popular trading platform for trading on the WSE, is NOL3. It is designed to present quotes from the WSE in real time. It allows you to place orders quickly. In turn, the market monitor allows to measure the heat map of the WSE, so a trader can determine in seconds which company in a given session is the biggest winner and which is behind.
However, NOL3 is a relatively simple tool that will be suitable for beginners. Investors who need more advanced tools can use an investment platform like Statica or Sidoma. These contain more functions than the standard NOL, and with them the trader can make more in-depth analysis, such as volume. In addition, additional tools, which are related to the possibility of superimposing the Number of Open Positions on the price chart, among other things, facilitate analysis for those who are active in the futures market. Both trading platforms are the most popular.
Plan of action for a novice investor
Many novice investors do not know where to properly start (you may also read: How to start investing in the stock market). The plan for people who are just starting to invest in the stock market should consist of 4 stages. Once these are established, it is a good idea to move on to setting up an account and figuring out what to invest in.
Checking your funds
An investor should calculate all the money he or she has set aside, and then set aside a so-called safety cushion from it. Depending on your profession, it should be between 3 and 9 monthly salaries or expenses. In the beginning, it is not worth getting involved in very risky investments.
To invest in the stock market, a beginner should allocate as much as he can lose without hurting the household budget. Do not allocate large sums that, if lost, could lead the investor into debt.
Preparing a plan of action
Of course, one invests in order to make money, but one should expect risks. There is no such thing as a sure gain without any investment risk. So it is advisable to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. A beginner investor should be aware of the maximum he can lose and not be discouraged from investing further.
Monitor your investments
When everything is in place, the investor should remember to monitor his investments systematically. However, one should not overdo it. To begin with, about an hour a week is completely sufficient.
What are the characteristics of an ideal investor?
Financial markets are a peculiar environment in which there is no guarantee of success or proven recipe for making profits. In order to cope in it, it is useful to develop some important character traits that are sure to help in successful investing.
Starting the adventure of investing, you should not count on the fact that there will be profits right away, and big ones at that. Investing in the stock market is also associated with failures, which especially at the very beginning you should not worry about.
A realistic approach
An investor should set realistic goals to achieve. He may demand to ask himself what real rates of return within a year, he is satisfied with. Before placing another order, he should demand himself to ask why he is actually doing it and for what purpose he is risking his money.
Investing in the stock market requires the investor to constantly improve his knowledge, as well as his desire to grow. He should be aware that there will never really come a time when he will know enough. This, in turn, requires the investor to be motivated, so if he feels that investing and online trading does not interest him enough to devote all his time and money, it might be better for him to take up something else.
In order to invest effectively, it is a good idea to set yourself rules that you consider effective from your own perspective. If an investor has not worked out how to select companies for his portfolio, he can quickly get lost (you may also read: How to invest in the stock market). Strategy alone, unfortunately, is not enough – you also need to stick to it. So investing in the stock market requires a lot of discipline, as well as keeping a cool head and keeping emotions in check.
A trading platform will allow the investor to make quick moves and make investment transactions. However, it should be intuitive, work quickly and efficiently, and not burden the user with too many fees, especially at the beginning of his journey with investing. Therefore, before choosing the right investment platform, take a few minutes to check the broker’s offerings and the tools the trading platform offers.