Online Trading Platform is a software that enables investors and traders to place orders and monitor accounts through financial intermediaries. Online Trading Platforms are usually offered by brokers either for free or at a discount rate in exchange for keeping a funded account or carry out a specific number of trades per month. Most times, trading platforms come with features like charting tools, newsfeed, real-time quotes and lots more. Also, they may be specific to markets example stocks, currencies, options or future markets.
Factors to Consider before Choosing an Online Trading Platform
- Costs – you wouldn’t like hidden costs coming up as you trade. Each platform should have a calculator that shows you all the fees you will pay for the trade. Lower fees are preferable but should not be the major deciding factor.
- Features or tools available – Some Trading Platforms require specific tools more than others. Eg options traders may need tools that are specifically designed to visualize options strategies while others may require other specific tools.
- Access to technological devices – a platform that gives you the option of downloading a trading app on your device will make you access your apps wherever you are so you will be up-to-date with your trades at all times.
- Proper knowledge – most popular platforms have tabs where you can see all their trading news and happenings so that you get all the information you need about them on your fingertips.
- The reputation of the broker – some online platforms are available only to certain brokers with high reputation and unavailable to others. This is considered before giving the person a specific trading platform to execute the trade and manage accounts.
- Qualification of broker – some platforms may have specific requirements to meet before one qualifies to use them eg options platform may require approval to trade various types of options before using the trading platform.
- Diverse trading options – as the saying goes, don’t put all eggs in one basket. The chosen platform should give you the option of diversifying.
Popular trading platforms
There are several numbers of online trading platforms but the well-known ones are listed below:
- Trade Station – popular for algorithmic traders that prefer to carry out trading strategies using automated scripts written in easy language.
- Interactive brokers – for professionals with low fees and access to markets around the globe.
- TD Ameritrade – for both traders and investors
- Meta Trader – for foreign exchange (Forex) market participants and has many different brokers.
Others are Fidelity, Ally invest, OptionsHouse, E*TRADE and many more. There is no best online stock broker. Different strokes for different people. Each has its strength and so suits different types of investors and different investment strategies. It is left for you to find the best for your style and needs.