There are hundreds of FX brokers worldwide, offering a wide range of trading platforms. It is not easy to pinpoint the best Forex trading platform since personal preference is a big factor in choosing a platform. There are, however, a myriad of factors to consider in understanding and choosing a Forex trading platform, including ease of using the platform on the web, desktop and mobile, compatibility with operating systems like Windows, Linux and Mac, order entry and management features such as order types, charts types, suite of indicators, tools, plugins and automated trading.
To make it easier for Forex traders to better understand what’s out there, we have put together a list of the top FX trading platforms and their key features that traders are generally seeking in a Forex trading platform.
Metatrader 4 (MT4)
Developed by MetaQuotes Software in 2005, MT4 is the most widely used platform by retail FX traders. No list of the best Forex trading platform would be complete without including MT4. The software, programmed in C++ and licenced to FX brokers, typically includes the server and client terminal. While the server is maintained by the broker, the client terminal is offered to customers to monitor real-time streaming quotes, order and account management. Since the platform is leased to brokers, it is fully customisable to the broker’s discretion and can vary from its original version.
The key features of MT4 are detailed below:
- The platform supports desktop, web, mobile and automated trading.
- Compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.
- Buoyed by the MQL4 program, it is used to build expert advisors (EAs), custom technical indicators, scripts and automated trading programs.
- Includes multiple order placement features such as instant execution, market, limit, stops and trailing stop orders.
- A customizable charting package with which allows for one-click trading, trading from the charts and the ability to adjust resting orders by dragging them up or down on the charts.
- Price dynamics are displayed in 9-time frames for each symbol with 30 ready to use technical indicators to identify trends and carry out comprehensive technical analysis.
- Encrypted data exchange between the client and the server terminals with the use of RSA digital signature to ensure stringent safety measures to protect client accounts.
Metatrader 5 (MT5)
This multi asset platform was released by MetaQuotes Software in 2010 and, although there is widespread apprehension that the platform is an improved version of MT4, the reality is quite different. MT5 has superior fundamental and technical analysis tools with advanced financial trading functions that also support automated trading. MT5 was essentially designed, however, to also operate for exchange-traded products such as equities and commodities in addition to the decentralized FX markets. So, the truth behind the development of MT5 was not to improve on MT4, but shape a platform to explore new markets and trading instruments.
Some of the features of the MT5 platform include:
- Desktop, web and mobile versions, which can be accessed from any device.
- MQL5 environment to develop, debug, test and optimize trading systems. In particular, the MQL5 wizard, which assists novice traders and the MQL5 IDE, which offers a ready to use strategy tester for experienced developers.
- Provides advanced market depth features that combine tick charts with time and sales data.
- Accommodation for two order accounting modes; Netting for exchange-traded and hedging for FX markets.
- One-click trading with stop loss (S/L) and take profit (T/P) functions to limit losses and secure profits.
- A cache of analytical and forecasting tools to predict future price movements.
- Charts with 21-time frames and over 80 technical indicators and analysis tools. Traders can also open up to 100 charts at any given point of time to monitor short and long-term trends.
- An enhanced back-office that includes automatic monitoring of margin requirements, contract terms, spreads, credit limits and a host of other trading parameters.
- On the security front, the Metatrader 5 encrypts all transmitted data and also includes a two-tier authentication process to access the system.
The proprietary trading platform offered by OANDA, fxTrade was initially designed to cut down on FX and CFD related costs and bolster trade execution. fxTrade is offered as a JAVA based web application, desktop platform and a mobile app. The platform is well known for its extremely fast trade execution speeds, which is one of the reasons we have included it in the best Forex trading platform list. The fxTrade platform supports one-touch order entry, trailing stops, drag and drop orders to navigate fast paced markets, up to the minute news from leading broadcasters and fully automated trading. The advanced charting tools include more than 65 technical indicators and a wide array of drawing tools. The platform covers diverse markets comprising of more than 100 instruments including FX, Commodities, Indices, Bonds and Metals.
Some of the features of the fxTrade platform include:
- Full functioning mobile application designed for IOS and Android devices that have alert and price signal push notifications.
- Highly customizable desktop platform that allows traders to build their own personalized trading hub.
- Built in market summary that visually displays a 24-hour summary of open orders and positions held by Oanda’s clients.
cTrader was developed by Spotware and was recognized as the best Forex trading platform at the Finance Magnates London Summit Awards in 2018. The platform comes with asynchronous order processing, Level II quotes, advanced order types and information to support risk management. The innovative trading capabilities of the platform not only ensure speedy execution of trades, but also support simultaneous order processing resulting in multiple orders being filled at the same time, thereby reducing the order queue. FX traders are also permitted to create, categorise and save unlimited watchlists on the cloud or move them around the workspace and place trades whenever they see an opportunity.
Level II quotes can be viewed directly from liquidity providers and orders to be filled are calculated using Volume Weighted Average Price (VWAP). The platform also has a real-time market sentiment indicator which displays the ratio of long and short trades across all brokers using cTrader.
Some of the features of the cTrader platform include:
- Premium charting capabilities that comes with over 70 pre-installed indicators and 54 unique time frames.
- cTrader Automate (cAlgo), which is an advanced automated strategy development software that allows traders to program highly customized trading algorithms and indicators.
- Mobile and web trading applications that allow for use across all computer operating systems and devices.
Trading Station is an in-house, proprietary Forex trading platform developed by FXCM and is accessible via desktop, web and mobile applications. In addition to the basic functions, the platform is loaded with a multitude of features that include one-click chart trading, drag and drop option to edit orders, price overlays and alerts in addition to viewing real volumes from FXCM’s pool of traders. The downloadable FXCM apps store provides users with indicators, strategies and access to other trading applications which can be used to customise the charting panel. For algorithmic traders, the platform can also be used to backtest, optimize and automate strategies. In addition, traders can view their trade history, equity curve and detailed performance summary of their trades.
One unique feature of the platform is its ability to save user profiles and chart settings on FXCM’s cloud. Users can also share charts with friends and other users from the cloud.
Some of the features of the Trading Station platform include:
- Real trading volume indicators with volume coming from FXCM’s pool of traders.
- 9 different order types including Good ‘Til Cancelled, Fill or Kill, and Good ‘Til Date.
- Trading Station web platform is designed in HTML5, which is the most up to date web development language, delivering a modern state of the art look and feel.
Advanced Trader is a proprietary trading platform offered by Gain Capital (Forex.com). This is an electronic trading platform that was designed with the professional trader in mind. It comes preloaded with over 100 indicators, gives the ability to create your own customer indicators, and much more. There are also a host of order types including: stops, limits, OCOs, trailing stops, and partial closes. OCO or One Cancels the Other is a sought after order type that not many Forex trading platforms offer; just one of the many things that sets the Advanced Trader platform from Forex.com apart from the others in this list. These reasons, among others is the reason it has been included in our list of best Forex trading platform for 2019.
Some of the features of the Advanced Trading platform include:
- Mobile, Web, and Desktop are available for the Advanced Trading platform, allowing traders the ability to access it from anywhere regardless of device or computer type.
- Supports USD, EUR, CAD, JPY, CHF, AUD, and GBP based trading accounts.
- Provides the ability to do an overlay of markets, which allows you to compare different markets on the same chart.
The Trade Interceptor platform can be accessed either as a desktop or a mobile application and is compatible with Windows, Android, Mac and iOS. The platform provides streaming real-time quotes in FX, indices, commodities and metals, live market news from leading broadcasters, more than 80 technical indicators and 40 graphical tools in addition to chart trading and alerts. All these incredible features come with non-expiry demo account for users to test the platform before setting up a trading account with Oanda or ThinkMarkets. Trade Interceptor’s mobile app has registered more than 500,000 downloads worldwide and was awarded the “Best Mobile Platform” at the Forex Magnates Awards in 2012.
Some of the features of the Trade Interceptor platform include:
- Over 80 pre-installed technical indicators and 40 graphical tools on both mobile and desktop platforms.
- One of the few trading platforms that was build for Kindle and Blackberry Playbook.
- Split screen viewing on mobile devices allowing for traders to view four different market charts simultaneously.
TradingView is a web-based social, charting and execution platform, accessible by most browsers and is comprised of charts which can be overlaid with strategy backtesting. The platform provides real-time quotes in FX, equities, indices, futures, bonds, CFD’s and the cryptocurrency markets in addition to screeners for Stocks, FX and Cryptocurrencies. However, the key feature of TradingView which makes it different from the other platforms is it lets traders interact with the trading community where they can view, learn and share ideas and strategies which can then be directly published on social media platforms, blogs and other places on the internet. The platform is available in both FREE and PAID versions, has a community in excess of 3.6 million investors with more than 2.25 million ideas published. Currently, TradingView is fully integrated with two Forex brokers: Oanda and Forex.com. Forex traders who have accounts at either of these brokers can login to their TradingView account and trade directly from the platform.
Some of the features of the TradingView platform include:
- Over 50 intelligent drawing tools available through their HTML5 built web-based platform.
- Alerts sit server side, which allows traders to be logged out of the platform and still receive notifications.
- Easy to understand Pine Script programming language that allows traders to fully customize their trading strategies and create custom technical analysis indicators.
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