Forex trading can be a lucrative experience – and an enjoyable one too, for those with the right mindset. Once you’ve started building up your knowledge for the Forex market and honing crucial skills such as market analysis and risk management, you may feel as though you’re ready to start maximising your profits.
In reality, though, you also need the right tools for the job. Crucially, this means finding means the right trading platform and broker: a combination that will give you an attractive package of features and fees.
You can run through the options on this forex trading software list, which explains the different platforms available to traders right now, and also lists some of the most reliable brokers to consider. Here are some of the factors to consider whilst making your choice.
Stable servers are crucial for Forex trading, since you need to be reacting to real-world events: a platform that is likely to crash or freeze during periods of high activity could cause you to miss crucial trading moments.
This is particularly important for the more aggressive traders: people who are always watching the market and making a large number of trades. However, we all benefit from reliability, which usually means opting for the more established platforms with stronger servers and better support.
Ease of use
You’re going to be spending a lot of time sat in front of that user-interface, so make sure it’s attractive and easy to use. The key points are:
- How simply are you able to place an order or close a trade (i.e. does it offer 1-click trading)
- Can you easily navigate to key information such as analysis tools
- Are you able to open up several elements at once – this will help you compare details and trade more rapidly
Also consider which device you’re going to be trading from. Not all trading platforms offer mobile applications, which can be frustrating if you’re the type of trader that likes to make deals on the move. Again, this is particularly important for the more aggressive traders who are spending more time in front of the screen. That said, those who only dip into their trading account every now and then will want a straightforward approach that doesn’t take too long to master.
Quality of information
Your trades will live or die by the quality of the analysis that you put into them. George Soros put it best when he said:
“I’m only rich because I know when I’m wrong. I basically have survived by recognising my mistakes.”
In other words – all traders have bad days, but your underlying knowledge of what is happening in the market and why you are gaining or losing money is what will mark you out as a good trader long-term. Part of this is down to your own research and reading, but it will also be helped along by choosing a platform that offers plenty of good analysis tools.
The best platforms will offer a range of analysis tools to help you understand your trading system better. For beginners in particular, this may well be one of the most important factors to consider if you want to grow and succeed.
Cost of trading
Most of the biggest trading platforms are free to download and access through your broker. If you’re being asked to pay up front, then you’re probably getting a bad deal and may even be dealing with scammers.
You will need to pay your broker though – usually in the form of commission – so it’s worth considering which brokers work with your desired trading platform and how much it will cot you to work with them before going ahead.
Size of community
Forex trading can seem pretty isolated, one trader pitted against another in a world of ‘winners’ and ‘losers.’ Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be that way, and many long-term traders are happy to share their wisdom with the newbies.
A platform with a bigger user-base is more likely to have helpful resources. Looking at two of the most popular platforms, MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader5, you’ll find everything from forum discussions to instructional YouTube videos. There will also be people on hand to answer questions and help you get started, something that the smaller platforms just can’t offer.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here: as you look through the different options and read reviews for various Forex trading platforms, you’ll likely find that certain platforms stand out to you and meet your needs. Do your research, weigh up the pros and cons, and most importantly have some fun with it.