MONEY is not what it used to be. Just as technology has helped evolve every other aspect of our lives, from entertainment to location-independent working, money and the markets are no stranger to technological disruption. The ways we earn, save and spend have drastically changed over the past few decades. The emergence of online banking, digital wallets and online shopping has proven over time that more and more inclusion of technology into our lives is not only unavoidable but also beneficial. One of the more recent impacts of technology has been in the financial markets. Digitization and automation of trading by large institutions and by smaller independent organizations has led the financial markets to a new era. If you are new to trading or just interested in learning about how technology has changed the financial markets, please have a look at the list below of the most disruptive trading platform that has taken the industry to new levels.
Anyone who has even the slightest interest in the digital financial markets has used or at least heard of, the MetaTrader. Being the industry-leading platform for a beginner to professional level traders, MetaTrader is robust, easy to use, versatile and a very customizable trading platform. It is supported by thousands of brokers worldwide, has tons of built-in 38 indicators (MetaTrader 5) with the option to add unlimited third party indicators (or to program your own indicator if that is what you want) and offers fully automated trading. Moreover, they also have a mobile app which is quite usable on its own, unlike many out there. The simplicity of use makes the platform ideal for beginners and learners. The platform has huge community support and has thousands of indicators and algorithms freely available. If you are interested, you can download the app and make a demo account to try it out. Although to avail of its full functionality, I recommend the desktop version which is available on both Windows and Mac.
As the most technologically advanced platform available, TradeStation, ranks number 1 when it comes to the
availability of tools to support all types of traders. Both its web-based as well as desktop platforms provide a wide variety of tools such as Radar Screen, Scanner, Matrix, and Walk-Forward Optimizer that help you optimize and customize your trading experience.
This trading platform has its own TradingApp Store where you can find thousands of apps that help you in the analysis, execution and automation of your trades. If that is not enough, TradeStation also has its proprietary coding language (EasyLanguage) which you can use to build your own app and, if you want, make it available to others through the TradingApp Store.
TradeStation offers great value for trading futures, options or stocks whether you are a casual day trader or a professional. However, it is not ideal for beginners as it lacks in departments such as education and fundamental research.
Ranked as the best trading platform by Investopedia, TR Ameritrade Thinkorswin was sure to make this list. It is equally suitable for beginners as well as seasoned traders. The platform allows the users to trade using virtual money, analyze strategies by running real-time or on historical data tick-by-tick and perform advanced analytical tools on economic data. TD Ameritrade’s main reason for being ranked the best platform for beginners is mainly because of its educational offerings. The company goes above and beyond anyone in the industry to provide learning resources to its customers. The platform offers detailed training resources ranging from the very basic concepts to extremely complex strategies including but not limited to stocks, futures and options. The company has a robust desktop platform and the mobile application and the web-based platform are also among the best out there. The incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) allows the users to access, get quotes and perform basic operations even from Alexa, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. As for the pricing, you can make a free account with no deposit and play around with the system until you feel comfortable. You can also make use of the learning tools and test your strategies until you are fully comfortable investing real money. There is no base commission, no minimum deposit and contracts cost only $0.65. However, to access some of the advanced tools, there is a $2000 deposit requirement.
INTERACTIVE BROKERS – BEST FOR PROFESSIONALS
One of the platforms most preferred by professionals including hedge fund managers and large investment institutes is the Interactive Brokers’ Trader Workstation (TWS) platform. The reasons for its popularity among the professionals are multiple: it provides the lowest margin rates in the industry, a wide variety of trades including programmable and algorithmic trading, access to the most market centers in the world (135 markets in 33 countries) and its customizability to cater for the individual traders’ style. Interactive brokers have the widest variety of offerings in the market whether it be stocks, options or futures. The platform also offers an astounding 65 different order types including orders specifically designed to minimize the impact of the trader on the market price. Combine that versatility with the industry lowest margins across the board, Interactive Brokers seem like a no brainer for anyone and everyone. However, beginners beware, it is NOT for everyone. There is not a minimum balance requirement in some accounts but that is not the case for other account types. For example, the broker requires a $100,000 minimum deposit for margin accounts. The company has been recently adding educational and more robust fundamental research tools and resources but still lags behind its competitors in these aspects, thus not at all recommended for the beginners.
WEBULL – BEST FOR NO COMMISSIONS
Where all the platforms on our list so far include well established and tried and tested companies, WeBull, although well established, is a relatively newer establishment. WeBull is a Us-based fintech startup founded in 2017. The company is especially appealing for beginners because of its zero commission, zero fees and zero investment accounts. WeBull offers desktop, mobile and web-based platforms that allow trading stocks, ETFs and options truly free of charge. For high volume traders this alone can be a reason good enough to switch to WeBull. Of course, there
will always be some charges on short-sales (Trading in negative balances) and some regulatory charges, but with regular options trading, one can actually be trading without paying a cent. Although the platform is relatively new, WeBull is very active in adding tradable assets to its list of offerings. The company recently added options trading to the platform while work is underway for cryptocurrency trading. Moreover, as part of a promotional campaign, the company at the time of writing this article is generously giving its new customers free stock.