One thing you can be sure of is that a company will always try to improve on a good thing. So it is with MetaTrader creator MetaQuotes. While version four of the software (MT4) is the most used online Forex trading platform in history, you knew they wouldn’t be satisfied…
How to Choose the Perfect Forex Trading Platform
By the time you’ve spent about three seconds dabbling in the Forex market you will hear the term “trading platform.” What exactly is this mysterious platform and where would one go to stand on it? Actually, the idea is simple. A trading platform is exactly what the term indicates – software through which a trader monitors the market and opens and closes trades. If this seems like a pretty important part of trading currency, you would be right. While Metatrader – especially MT4 – is offered by 95 percent of brokers and is the most massively popular Forex platform in the world, there are others that move the needle. Choice is a good thing, and here are your primary ones.
Though the company is trying to entice the currency trading industry to upgrade to MT5, the previous iteration of the software, MT4, remains head and shoulders above all others when it comes to popularity. Other than being one of the first to the party, how and why does MT4 keep a chokehold on the hearts and minds of Forex traders? Back in 2000, online retail trading was just getting started. That was the year Metatrader released its initial platform, which, at that time did little more than basic price charting. Five years later, MT4 hit the market as a robust trading platform that is a market standard now but back then sent traders over the moon with excitement. They felt like they could finally participate in the Forex on even footing with the big time institutional traders. Over the years, MT4 has kept pace with challengers and remained (unlike most of the others) free. Most new currency traders, when offered the chance to pay for a product or get another equally competent one at no cost, choose the latter. And so MT4 remains the leader of the pack.
Founded in 1996, Oanda was one of the first brokers to offer retail access to the Forex market for small, individual traders. For years, the company has enjoyed a solid reputation for tight spreads, a long list of tradable currency pairs, and a proprietary trading platform that was named Best Retail Forex Platform in 2016 by FX Week. While the interface differs from MT4, expect an impressively full set of charts and indicators. As to whether the differences are a positive or negative, it depends largely on personal preference. Your best bet would be to try a demo account with each one and decide which you prefer.
Best of The Rest
Traders shouldn’t be averse to a particular Forex broker just because they offer a proprietary trading platform different than MT4. Think Or Swim from Ameritrade is one alternative that offers the capability to trade currency, stocks, futures, and options from a single account. Forex.com also has a highly-rated platform that specializes in providing a robust mobile experience. Of course, there are others. As already mentioned, your best bet would be to try out demo accounts from various brokers and see which you like the best. If they don’t offer a demo account, that might be considered a deal breaker because it would be difficult to do a proper evaluation.
A Final Word About Platforms
When it comes to Forex trading platforms, you should be aware that there are three ways to access your account. These days, most brokers offer all of them. A short description of each is below:
Desktop: This is where you download and install software containing the platform to a desktop or laptop. Though generally the most robust application, fewer people than ever do their computing like this. We’re all headed to the cloud.
Cloud Trading: This allows a trader to access his or her trading account via any device and in any location where there is an internet signal. The platform software is installed on the company’s server. To trade you would simply go to Oanda.com (for example) and log into your account.
Mobile: A mobile app from your broker lets you trade on the fly from your cell phone or tablet any time you want. It’s the ultimate in the on-the-go lifestyle that literally lets you tend to your open trades as you’re walking down the sidewalk. Please stay out from any snow plows or taxis.
You can’t dabble in the Forex market long without running across a reference to the trading platform MetaTrader 4, shortened to MT4 to make it easy. Though some brokers go to the time and effort to develop their own proprietary software, new traders soon realize that a great many incorporate…