Access to a well-equipped trading platform is essential.
Without the necessary tools to execute, success in the foreign exchange market is a challenge. New traders are often confused when it comes to the different account types and top trading platforms available, given the stiff competition between providers.
Thanks to the wizardry of modern technology, retail speculation in the currency markets are carried out through online electronic trading platforms, with the spotlight largely hovering over MetaQuotes Software Corp. as the dominant provider.
The majority of the top Forex brokers supply clients with free access to MetaTrader software, due to its established position and a broad range of features.
Founded in 2000, and now considered one of the world’s leading designers of trading software, MetaQuotes offers several applications. MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) symbolise clear milestones for the company.
MT4 is a trading platform Forex traders can rely on, emphasising safety and security. Data exchange is encrypted and supports the use of RSA digital signatures.
- Rapid execution, along with real-time price data, advanced charting capabilities, the ability to operate trading robots (Expert Advisors) as well as copy-trading availability.
- MT4 offers 2 market orders, 4 different pending order types (buy stop, buy limit, sell limit and sell stop), 2 stop orders, and trailing stop.
- Offers 9 traditional timeframes on all currency pairs (sometimes referred to as ‘Forex pairs’ – EUR/USD and GBP/USD, for example) and CFDs, including cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin – ranging as low as the 1-minute timeframe through to the long-term monthly chart. 30 built-in technical indicators are available along with over 2,000 free custom indicators and 700 paid alternatives. MT4 also provides 24 analytical objects, including channels, lines, Fibonacci analysis tools, and a dedicated shape selection.
- Provides programming languages (MetaQuotes language – MQL4) designed to develop algorithmic software. MQL4 traders can develop various trading tools for MT4, such as automated trading robots, Expert Advisors (EAs), and technical indicators.
Five years following the launch of MT4, MetaQuotes Software Corp. announced the release of MT5. Although boasting a similar interface to MT4, the revolutionary factor behind MT5 is its ability to offer trading for almost all financial markets through a centralised exchange, including Stocks, Commodities, Futures trading, and Options.
- It provides 21 different timeframes on any financial instrument. Extra timeframes allow for a more exhaustive analysis of market price.
- The MT5 platform offers 2 market orders, 6 pending order types (buy stop, buy limit, buy stop limit, sell stop, sell limit and sell stop limit), 2 stop orders and trailing stop.
- MQL5 programming language. A key point to bear in mind is programmed for MT4 cannot run on MT5.
- 38 technical indicators and 44 graphical objects are available.
- MT5 also has an economic calendar, in place to caution traders when macroeconomic news and key central bank speeches are due.
- MT4 allows only hedging. MT5, though, allows both hedging and netting.
- MetaTrader is well-known for auto-trading, boasting a large online community. Customer support reputation generally falls on the heads of the respective broker you trade with. Regulated brokers are generally committed to supporting you throughout your journey. Competent support is a must.
Both MT4 and MT5 platforms are free to use and have research tools, in the form of a News tab.
Both support user-friendly mobile trading apps via iOS, Android-powered smartphones, and tablets, allowing account access 24 hours a day. The functionality offered on mobile trading apps (also referred to as a ‘mobile app’) includes interactive charts, trading orders, analytical tools, account status and buy/sell functions.
Setting alerts is common practice in trading; both platforms permit this function.
Both are also compatible with Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Microsoft Edge.
Beginner traders (Forex beginners), with a focus on currency trading, may find MT4 offers a more superior trading experience. Those with an interest in more adaptable software, MT5 is a valid contender.
To start trading, the minimum deposit for both Standard and Raw trading accounts with FP Markets, the number 1 value global online broker, is as low as $100 AUD, or equivalent home currency. Low trading commissions and trading costs (low spreads) seats FP Markets at the forefront of the trading industry, ideal for a wide range of trading strategies.
Iress Trading Platforms:
Founded in 1993, Iress, a technology company headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, boasts award-winning technology used by 500,000 users globally.
The Iress trading platform delivers unrestricted access to the online trading arena, offering a window to CFDs – It’s also particularly useful when it comes to trading equities.
- More than 50 technical indicators are available, providing an extensive range of options.
- Enhanced Drawing Tools. Iress delivers a vast selection of charting capabilities, offering in excess of 50 chart annotations. Having the option to annotate charts that cater to your trading needs is a huge plus.
- Multiple timeframes.
- Choose from 10,000+ financial trading instruments that boast real-time market news and price quotes on shares, the Forex market, Commodities, Metals, and Indices.
- Compatible with Windows or Mac.
FP Markets offers three dedicated Iress platforms: Iress ViewPoint, Iress Investor, and Iress Trader. FP Markets also provides access to Iress Mobile, compatible with iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.
Another point is cost. While MT4 and MT5 are free, Iress Trader/ViewPoint comes with a $55 monthly trading fee, including GST. However, if you trade 15 times (with a standard minimum ticket fee of $10 AUD) or more per calendar month, or generate more than $150 in commissions you receive this trading platform free of charge.
The minimum deposit for Iress accounts is $1000 AUD, or equivalent. However, FP Markets does not charge an inactivity fee.
For more information on Iress platforms, visit FP Markets.
cTrader Trading Platform:
Spotware, established in 2010 in Limassol, Cyprus, is the organisation behind cTrader, a premium charting, and manual trading platform.
The first version of cTrader was launched by FxPro in April 2011.
- cTrader offers a multi-asset Forex and CFD trading platform, several chart types, and more than 70 built-in technical indicators. Additional features are advanced order types, level 2 pricing with rapid entry and execution as well as a well-equipped interface.
- cTrader supports custom indicators configured within cTrader Automate. Traders can build automated trading robots and custom indicators in the popular C# language.
- Access the account from anywhere in the world, as a result of the cTrader applications for iOS and Android.
- For brokers who support cTrader, like MT4/5, it’s free to use.
- Compatible on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices.
Founded in 2003, NinjaTrader is considered an industry leader, supporting more than 60,000 users globally.
- Powerful trading platform, specialising in Futures, Forex trading, and Options.
- Free trial simulation account – enables traders to familiarise themselves with the platform’s features, backtesting functions, and signal development. Demo accounts expire in a month, though many retail investors reopen another account after expiration.
- Customisable charts that include an array of drawing tools and 100+ technical indicators. An impressive feature is also ChartTrader, a chart-based order entry tool, giving users the ability to enter, modify, and manage trades directly through the charts.
- Three platform license options are available for live trading with NinjaTrader. The free live license is included in every NinjaTrader brokerage account, providing advanced charting, fast order execution, market analytics, and more. The NinjaTrader lease license includes all of the free license capabilities, along with premium features, including ChartTrader, ATM strategies, automated trading capabilities, and a tabbed interface. A lifetime license delivers the most powerful version of NinjaTrader, with free upgrades for life.