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Best Trading Platforms

17 minutes
Beginner
Miguel A. Rodriguez
Miguel A. Rodriguez
21 March 2024
We look at the basics of trading platforms, methodology to choose one, and some of the best trading platforms for beginners.

Want to jump straight to one of the best trading platforms? Most of our users prefer WebTrader for multi-assets trading. 

If you are looking to actively trade the markets, you will want to pay more attention to your broker’s trading platform. Unlike buy-and-hold investors who do not need to get the best price every time out, active, or short-term traders live and die by their ability to get a low price. So that is why finding a broker with a top trading platform can be so important. 

The best trading platforms offer traders a way to place orders, track a watchlist of stocks, commodities, cryptos, currencies, and funds, receive alerts for securities that may be interesting trades, offer tools to analyze complex options trades, and much more quickly and intuitively. A top trading platform may also provide streaming news and can even get you a better trade execution, helping you secure the most attractive price possible. 

What is a Trading Platform? 

A trading platform is a software used for online trading: opening, closing, and managing market positions through a financial intermediary such as an online broker. Online trading platforms are frequently offered by brokers either for free or at a discount rate in exchange for maintaining a funded account and/or making a specified number of trades per month. The best trading platforms offer a mix of robust features and low fees. 

When you are opening an account with CAPEX.com, you can access two trading platforms for free, without maintaining fees or other restrictions. 

   

Understanding Trading Platforms 

A trading platform acts like a network-based marketplace that provides users with unlimited functionalities to place trades, browse catalogs of financial instruments, and monitor accounts through financial institutions outside the bank dealer community. 

The best trading platforms are equipped with a combination of additional features, such as premium research information, real-time quotes, news feeds, or charting tools to facilitate the real-time availability of trading information and technical analysis. 

Trading platforms are also tailored to suit the needs of specific markets, such as futures markets, stocks, options, or currencies. By providing capabilities tailored to each market structure, trading platforms offer a greater deal of choices on how to execute trades and manage trades. 

There are a variety of trading platforms that can be divided into two: one set are the prop platforms which are developed by the brokers themselves while there are other sets of platforms that are developed by companies that specialize in the development of trading platforms. Each has its own set of features and own set of abilities. 

While the prop platforms work with that specific broker and have features tailored to the broker, it becomes difficult for the trader if he wants to change the broker as he then needs to get used to the new platform used by the new broker. 

Also, since the online broker’s primary business is to earn commissions and charges, they may not be able to focus a lot of time and resources in building and customizing their platform with high-quality features as that is not their primary business.  

Though the platforms developed by them are of high quality and have excellent execution speeds, it makes it difficult for the trader to understand all the complex features and hence be preferred by high-end traders. 

On the other hand, platforms developed by companies focused on developing trading software, like MetaTrader, look more high-class and user-friendly. But they lack customization as far as the broker is concerned which might be a drawback with certain traders who would prefer a professional trading platform that is integrated with the broker feeds. Also, they need to sell these platforms to the brokers which means that they could embed certain features which favor the broker, and which may not be liked by the trader. But their user-friendliness and the ease of moving from one broker to another broker, that such platforms provide, cannot be matched. 

With our CFD trading account you’ll have access to several trading platforms: 

These can all be tailored to suit your trading style and preferences, with personalized alerts, interactive charts, pattern recognition, daily analyst rating, and risk management tools. 

How to choose the best Trading Platform for your needs 

Once a decision has been made to apply some rigorous selection criteria, the next obvious question would be, what criteria do we use to choose the best platforms in the industry? 

Find out if a chosen https://capex.com/registration platform is comfortable enough to work with it daily. All features and functions must be easy and understandable for you. 

For example, look at the platform and decide whether you like it at the first sight or not. If the answer is «No», then definitely check something else. Of course, in the future, you will have to learn the details of any platform to work with it professionally. But basic buttons and options should be understandable for you immediately after opening a board. Do not forget to check the graphics too. 

Reliability 

Reliability is the first factor as whatever you trade, only if you could get back your profits, would it make sense to do any good trading at all. So, the reliability of execution and the reliability of the deposit and withdrawals are the first key factors. 

Mobile app 

Does the platform have a slick mobile app? This makes online trading flexible and convenient. The growth of trading apps has coincided with the evolution of user preferences, with a growing number of people opting to manage their money through tablets or smartphones. 

Brokerage License 

Same trading platforms may be offered by more brokers. While some are licensed and supervised, most are companies offering services beyond the reach of EU regulation or other trusted regulations (Australia or UK for example).  With several jurisdictions offering several kinds of licenses, it does make it a challenging task to find the right one. Having a license and regulation in a jurisdiction where the monetary authority closely watches, audits the company in terms of trading activities, best execution policy, privacy policy, deposits, withdrawals, and funds security. 

User experience 

The best trading platforms are popular all over the world thanks to their user-friendly interface, a variety of technical analysis tools, and the integrated programming language for developing technical indicators and trading robots. Of course, the ease of use of the platform is another criterion but nowadays, most platforms use some standardized software for trading. 

best_trading_platform_capex.png
Source: CAPEX WebTrader

Trading conditions 

The spreads and other fees that the brokerage charges whenever you are using their trading platforms are also key factors that need to be looked at. These may eat into your profits and if they are too much – especially when you are scalping and day trading, then your profits will never grow as you would like them to. 

The leverage, margin requirements, and the ease of deposit and withdrawals are other factors as well, but these are minor when compared to those that are listed above. 

If you find a reliable platform based on the above criteria, we are sure that the trader would be ready to put up with slightly less leverage and a bit of hassle while making a deposit. 

CFD or Forex Trading Platforms 

A forex trading platform is a software interface provided by brokers to their customers to give them access as traders in the forex and CFD markets. This may be an online, web-based portal, mobile app, a standalone downloadable program, or any combination of the three. 

These platforms may also provide tools for research in addition to tools for order processing. 

  • A forex trading platform provides foreign exchange market access to traders. 
  • Some clients prefer brokerages and platforms that give them access to all asset classes and integrate trading into a single platform.
  • MetaTrader 5 (MT5) has become a de facto standard among forex trading platforms.
  • Automated trading via these platforms can remove psychological and emotional factors from trading strategies.
  • Automated trading is not without issues and requires monitoring and consideration to operate successfully. 

Some forex brokers offer their own custom trading platforms for order processing and research, but many provide order access through integrated trading and research programs. 

Many brokerages offer a wide array of forex trading platform solutions for both retail and institutional clients. In the institutional markets, banking or brokerage companies may also build proprietary forex trading platforms to meet their internal needs with trades executed through institutional trading channels. 

Many platforms also offer forex charting packages to determine the direction on a given currency pair in conjunction with other technologies such as predictive forecasting software and pattern recognition to get an edge in forex trading. 

 

Exchange or Crypto Trading Platforms 

Crypto trading platforms are digital marketplaces, where you exchange money to get anything you need. But on crypto trading platforms, you trade one digital money, a.k.a. cryptocurrency. It is a lot like foreign exchange, where people buy for or against the market. 

Many people use this trading concept to hedge their funds against inflation by saving or investing in a cryptocurrency. Some investors are just there to buy or sell for profit. This means crypto trading is fast becoming a targeted market for crypto lovers. Others bet for or against the market and gain profit or loss from their crypto predictions. Whatever the motive, crypto exchanges, and crypto apps are a huge business for many people, and we know you are eager to get in on all that action. 

As the crypto market grows, more people are looking for ways to understand the mystery behind blockchain and how they can benefit from it. As a result, essential factors streamline their search for the right crypto trading platform to purchase and sell their digital assets.  

One of the most crucial factors to look out for when choosing the best trading platforms for beginners is security.  

As far as any digital business is concerned, security is one of the major components you should take seriously. You want to be sure your investment is safe and not lying in the account of some two-bit, no-good thief. That is why it is important that the crypto trading platform you are choosing is legal and safe from hackers. 

Exchanges bring their own steep learning curve as you’ll need to get to grips with the technology involved and learn how to make sense of the data. Many exchanges also have limits on how much you can deposit, while accounts can be expensive to maintain. 

For these reasons and not only, CFD trading platforms offering a wide range of cryptocurrencies might also be an interesting alternative to consider. 

CFDs (with CFD meaning contract for difference) are derivatives, which enable you to speculate on cryptocurrency price movements without taking ownership of the underlying coins. You can go long (‘buy’) if you think a cryptocurrency will rise in value, or short (‘sell’) if you think it will fall. 

Both are leveraged products, meaning you only need to put up a small deposit – known as margin – to gain full exposure to the underlying market. Your profit or loss is still calculated according to the full size of your position, so leverage will magnify both profits and losses. 

 

Investment or Stock Trading Platforms 

Investment platforms allow you to buy shares, bonds, and ETFs in one place and hold for the long term. Many of the platforms let investors choose a ready-made portfolio that matches their risk appetite. 

Over the past decade, old-fashioned stockbrokers have started to face competition from a new generation of discount brokers offering investment platforms and mobile apps. This is because discount brokers focus on providing low-cost and straightforward access to investing for people who have little or no experience. 

If you want to know more about investing, read our Beginner’s guide to stock investing. 

Some platforms offer automated guidance on which options might be most suitable for you, which is sometimes called portfolio builder. This does not actually count as financial advice – it just supports it and helps you make the decision for your needs. This feature empowers investors to select their optimum blend of stocks according to their preferences, and trading styles, saving them time and energy. 

However, some of these platforms do also offer access to real-time news, market research, and in-depth analysis in return for an extra fee. 

Investing and trading are similar terms that some people will sometimes use interchangeably – but there are significant differences for you to be aware of. 

Investors buy shares outright in the hope that they will increase in price and can be sold later for a profit. They uphold the traditional mantra of buying low and selling high – known as going long. Investors will take positions over a longer period, attempting to profit from share price changes as well as dividend payments. 

While this means that they might need more initial capital to get started when compared to trading, their losses would be capped at this initial outlay. That said, investors should be aware that they might receive back less than they initially invested. 

Trading stocks means that you are speculating on a share’s price movements with derivatives like CFDs – without taking direct ownership.  

With CFDs, you can ‘buy’ (go long) the shares if you think the stock’s price will rise, or you can ‘sell’ (go short) if you think the stock’s price will fall. Shorting with derivatives can be an effective way to hedge against downward price movements in your non-leveraged investment portfolio, or it can be a way to generate profits outright from shares that are falling in value. But when you go short your potential losses are theoretically uncapped because there is no limit on how high something’s price can rise. 

 

Best Trading Platforms 

Some of the most famous trading platforms include MetaTrader, TradingView, and CAPEX WebTrader. 

MetaTrader 4 and 5

By far one of the most popular currency trading platforms is MetaTrader 5 (MT5). MT5 was released in 2010 as an additional platform to MetaTrader 4, which is also one of the most popular currency trading platforms. In 2019 and 2020, MT5 has been awarded the ‘best forex trading platform’ and the ‘best CFD trading platform’ at Finance Magnates Awards. 

Both MT4 and MT5 are flexible trading systems that allow for the trading of forex. It's important to note that MT5 is not an update to MT4 but rather a system with a different purpose. MT5, unlike MT4, allows for the trading of stocks, CFDs, and futures in addition to forex. Both provide fundamental and technical analysis to help traders make informed trading decisions. 

MT5 trading platform offers superior tools for comprehensive price analysis, the use of algorithmic trading applications (trading robots or Expert Advisors), and copy trading. Also, it supports the hedging method, which allows the opening of multiple positions of the same financial instrument, of the opposite or same direction. This feature is widely used in Forex trading. 

MetaTrader 5 delivers a powerful trading system with Market Depth and a system of separate accounting of orders and trades. It supports both order accounting systems: the traditional netting system and the hedging option system. Four order execution modes are available to meet various trading objectives: Instant, Request, Market, and Exchange execution. The platform supports all types of trade orders, including market orders, limit and stop orders, as well as trailing stops. 

With such a diversity of order types and available execution modes, traders can use any trading strategy for successful work in the financial markets. 

One of the most impressive features of your MetaTrader 5 is Algorithmic Trading. This feature implies automated trading using specialized applications — trading robots (Expert Advisors). The robots operate without the participation of the trader — they can analyze quotes and perform trading operations following an underlying algorithm. 

Thousands of trading robots and technical indicators are available in the built-in Market of Trading Apps. Every product has a free trial version which you can test before deciding to pay for the full application version. All purchased applications are ready for immediate use.

How to Connect MetaTrader 5 Trading Platform

Trade with CAPEX.com from your MT5 account and enjoy one of the best of trading platforms.

Create & verify account at CAPEX.com
Open your CAPEX.com account to enable MT5 multi-asset platform that allow Forex, Futures and Stock trading through CFDs.
Go to Settings and create a new MT5 account
Manage your MetaTrader 5 account, update your password if needed and log in with your credentials.
Your MT5 account is now ready
Start trading with MetaTrader 5 trading platform from desktop or on the go with MT5 trading apps for iOS and Android.

 

TradingView  

Launched in 2011 by visionary trio Stan Bokov, Denis Globa and Constantin Ivanov, over the years TradingView has garnered an esteemed reputation as a comprehensive trading, charting, and social networking solution for the financial community. With a myriad of advanced features and interactive tools, the platform accommodates traders of all skill levels.

The platform’s users have access to a vast range of technical analysis indicators, drawing tools, and customizable charts. Additionally, TradingView facilitates global market data coverage, ensuring that traders have real-time information at their fingertips.

There are many ways in which you can utilize TradingView to enhance your trading experience. As a powerful financial platform, it equips traders with an extensive range of exclusive TradingView tools and features designed to support market analysis and informed decision-making.  

  • Advanced charts: Users can choose from various chart types including Japanese candlesticks, Heikin Ashi, Renko, Kagi and many more, as well as multiple time frames and themes, making it easier to analyze price movements and identify patterns. TradingView also enables simultaneous comparison of different assets or time frames through customizable multi-chart layouts.  
  • Technical indicators: TradingView boasts a vast selection of over 100 in-built technical indicators, including Moving Averages (MA), Relative Strength Index (RSI), Moving Average Convergence / Divergence (MACD), Bollinger Bands, candlestick pattern recognition, and many more, which can help traders analyze market conditions and trends.
  • Drawing tools: The platform offers an extensive suit of drawing tools that allow users to annotate their charts and perform detailed technical analysis. Some of these tools include trend lines, Fibonacci retracements, support/resistance levels, and many more.
  • Trading alerts: Users can set custom alerts based on price levels, technical indicators, or specific events, ensuring they stay informed about significant market movements. These alerts can be delivered via visual popups, audio signals, email alerts and email-to-sms alerts, and also PUSH notifications sent to a mobile phone.
  • Financial analysis: TradingView also incorporates fundamental tools such as valuation ratios and analysis, financial statements, as well as historical company data, to help traders perform fundamental analysis.  
  • Market data coverage: The platform provides extensive market data coverage, encompassing stocks, foreign exchange (forex), commodities, and more.
  • Pine script: TradingView allows users to create their own indicators, strategies and alerts using the platform’s Pine ScriptTM programming language.

TradingView is a valuable resource for traders and investors of various backgrounds and interests, regardless of their skill level, the asset class they are trading, or their strategy.

How to Trade on CAPEX.com with TradingView Charts

Our deep integration with TradingView is designed to help you upgrade your trading experience with lightning-fast charts, indicators, & more.

Sign in or create an account
You need to open your CAPEX.com account to enable TradingView charts. Submit your application in just five minutes and log in to add funds quickly and securely via debit card or bank transfer.
Claim your TradingView Chart 
Email us at support@capex.com, call us or contact our live support. CAPEX.com users do not have to pay any additional fees to use the advanced charting system by TradingView.
Connect to TradingView Chart 
Select TradingView Chart from Platform Settings and unlock TradingView’s powerful charting tools with CAPEX.com.

 

CAPEX WebTrader

Specifically designed to streamline your trading, our platform is accessible from desktop and mobile. Built for both beginner and advanced traders, the CAPEX WebTrader puts unique tools at your fingertips to help you make the best trading decisions. 

Advanced Charting & Analytics 

Get the most out of your trading strategy. Unleash the power of CAPEX WebTrader’s charting and analytical capabilities – with 6 chart types and over 90 popular indicators to choose from. 

Risk management tools 

CAPEX WebTrader has complex built-in risk management tools, allowing you to tailor your risk level according to your skills. Safeguard your trades with SL and TP orders + many more features. 

Intuitive and easy-to-use 

Trade on a highly responsive platform designed to offer a top user experience. Available on all devices, for investors of any level. 

Multi-asset trading 

With CFDs on over 2,100 instruments to choose from, each organized by category, the CAPEX WebTrader is highly customizable.

Pattern recognition system 

A leading industry tool that offers you updated technical analysis, informing you of specific trends or scenarios that you cannot afford to miss. 

Negative balance protection 

When trading with CAPEX.com, our negative balance protection policy means that your losses will never exceed the funds in your account.  

Integrated 3rd Party Features 

Created to improve user experience, the platform supports an interactive trading activity with high-end research tools that help you interpret market data 

Free, unlimited practice  

Take our online trading platform for a test drive – open a free demo account. It’s quick and easy, and you will get $50,000 virtual funds to practice with.

  

Summary

  • Trading platforms are software tools used to manage and execute market positions. 
  • Platforms range from basic order entry screens for beginner investors to complex and sophisticated toolkits with live streaming quotes and charts for advanced traders. 
  • Traders and investors should take multiple considerations into account and balance trade-offs when selecting the best trading platform for their needs. 

Free Resources  

Before you start trading through one of the best trading platforms described above, you should consider using the educational resources we offer like CAPEX Academy or a demo trading account. CAPEX Academy has lots of free trading courses for you to choose from, and they all tackle a different financial concept or process – like the basics of analyses – to help you to become a better trader or make more-informed investment decisions.  

Our demo account is a suitable place for you to get an intimate understanding of how trading and investing work – as well as what it’s like to trade with leverage – before risking real capital. For this reason, a demo account with us is a great tool for investors who are looking to make a transition to leveraged securities. 

FAQs 

This information prepared by capex.com/za is not an offer or a solicitation for the purpose of purchase or sale of any financial products referred to herein or to enter into any legal relations, nor an advice or a recommendation with respect to such financial products.This information is prepared for general circulation. It does not regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation or the particular needs of any recipient.You should independently evaluate each financial product and consider the suitability of such a financial product, by taking into account your specific investment objectives, financial situation, or particular needs, and by consulting an independent financial adviser as needed, before dealing in any financial products mentioned in this document.This information may not be published, circulated, reproduced, or distributed in whole or in part to any other person without the Company’s prior written consent.
Past performance is not always indicative of likely or future performance. Any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of capex.com/zaJME Financial Services (Pty) Ltd trading as CAPEX.COM/ZA acts as intermediary between the investor and Magnasale Trading Ltd, the counterparty to the contract for difference purchased by the Investor via CAPEX.COM/ZA, authorised & regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission with license number 264/15.  Magnasale Trading Ltd is the principal to the CFD purchased by investors.

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Miguel A. Rodriguez
Miguel A. Rodriguez
Financial Writer

Miguel worked for major financial institutions such as Banco Santander, and Banco Central-Hispano. He is a published author of currency trading books.