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Forex Trading Platforms

Forex Trading Platforms

Online forex trading has exploded over the past decade, with many electronic trading platforms being used to analyze the markets and make trades. Besides finding a good broker, forex traders also need to use a good trading platform. It can be hard to find the best with all of the available options on the market today, especially as platforms compete to produce the best all-in-one package. In this article, we’ll show you some of our top choices for forex trading platforms.

While a lot of features are similar between trading platforms, each one usually has its own proprietary software developed for PC, Web trading and Mobile platforms, and can be substantially different in many ways. This is a good thing, as there are traders with many different needs and trading styles out there. 

Many brokers have their own built-in platforms that they’ve developed, but there are also quite a few white label platforms, like cTrader or Ninja Trader, that many brokers can connect to. A large part of the white label market share is taken by MetaQuotes Corporation, with its MetaTrader4 and MetaTrader5 platforms. Let’s take a look at some of these trading platforms and their pros and cons.

Top Forex Trading Platforms Reviewed

1. MT4 was one of the first third-party platforms for online retail traders, and it still remains one of the most popular platforms today, offering many of the main features a trader needs

2. MT5 offers an increased number of time-frames for the charts and types of orders compared to the MT4, as well as market statistics on trading instruments

3.NinjaTrader has some great charting features, with numerous trading applications

4. TradingView has incredible charting features, indicators, and a vibrant community, connecting with many brokers for integrated trading

5. cTrader is an ECN platform with many feed providers, offering low spreads and very fast execution

1. MetaTrader4 MT4

Every trader knows about the MetaTrader4 platform by now. It was a major breakthrough for the MetaQuotes Corporation, being introduced in the early 2000s and growing to become the most famous trading platform in the world as of 2022. 

It’s easy to use and has a friendly interface, with great customizability and direct access to the markets. MT4 has been the most reliable third-party forex platform in online retail trading for a long time, setting the standard for everyone in the business. It offers every tool and feature that a trader needs to analyze markets and trade, such as one-click trading, exposure, account history, news, alerts, mailbox, market, forex signals, expert advisors, journal, etc.

FeaturesProsCons
Multiple accounts
Easy to understand
A little outdated in 2022
Automated trading
Low PC resources
Execution time varies
Expert advisers
Multiple accounts
No customized time-frame charts
Multi charting
Accepted in many PC systems
Historical data not always accurate
9 time-frames
Automated trading
No high-frequency trading
Pending orders
Easy to use indicators
Doesn’t offer crypto or stocks
Limit/Stop orders
Own scripting language
Not as feature-rich as other platforms
Phone alerts
Trading level alerts
Over 50 chart indicators
Demo accounts
Running simultaneous MT4 platforms
Hedging only on MT4

2. MetaTrader5 MT5

The MetaTrader5 platform was the second mainstream trading platform that MetaQuotes Corporation introduced to the online trading community. The community was already used to its previous MT4 trading platform, so MT5 was in demand right away with forex traders. 

MT5 added quite a few new features. While MetaTrader 4 was specifically designed for forex trading, MetaTrader 5 was engineered to provide traders with access to CFDs, stocks, and futures as well. The interface is similar to that of MT4, reducing the need to learn a new platform or layout for many traders. It has many more timeframes than MT4, offering 21 instead of MT4’s 9. Two more types of orders were added to the MT5, with Buy Stop-Limit and Sell Stop-Limit, on top of the four types of orders already present in MT4.

FeaturesProsCons
Multiple accounts
Wider range of instruments to trade than MT4
Can be complicated due to advanced tools
Automated trading
Unlimited number of charts
Hedging only by request
Expert advisors
Netting allowed
Most MT4 EAs not importable
Market statistics on various financial instruments
38 built-in technical indicators
Different scripting language to MT4
Increased number of timeframes
Buy stop-limit and sell stop-limit
More resource-intensive than MT4
More financial instruments than MT4
Depth of Market DOP liquidity
6 different types of orders
Economic calendar
Economic calendar
Compatible with PC/smartphone systems
MQL5 programming language
Ability to copy-trade
Hedging by request and netting

3. Ninja Trader

The Ninja Trader platform has been one of the main rivals of the MetaTrader platforms over the past two decades. Ninja Trader was developed in 2003, and since its inception, was intended to rival the MT4 platform, offering stock and futures trading alongside forex, while MT4 only offered forex trading. 

If you have a funded account with a broker, the NinjaTrader platform is free to use for charting, market analysis, and live trading. There’s even a simulated trading environment that doesn’t require any funding at all. Many experienced traders find the Ninja Trader platform quite useful due to its great charting features, countless applications from third-party developers, as well as the built-in brokerage it offers.

FeaturesProsCons
Great charting with powerful tools
Amazing charting
Only compatible with Windows
Partial and full automation
Chart trader order entry tool
Limited news research
Simulation and back-testing available
Thousands of trading apps
Payment for premium features
Over 100 indicators and technical analysis tools
Platform guides, video library
No smartphone platform
Easy to build trading apps
Free daily webinars
Data feed not included
Many third-party trading apps
Depth of Market DOP liquidity
No access to crypto trading
Many resources for advanced trading
Very fast to submit and manage SL and TP orders
Built-in brokerage has high minimum deposit, inactivity fees
Trade directly from charts
One cancels the other orders OCO
Ideal for futures trading
Free basic demo platform

4. TradingView

TradingView is at the forefront of retail trading nowadays. While it’s primarily used for its charting features, since its launch in 2011, it has added a wide range of brokers that can integrate directly with the platform. It’s a simple-to-use platform that offers data from hundreds of brokers, exchanges, and crypto exchanges, offering charts for everything from forex and stocks to bonds and economic data.

It’s extremely customizable, with an intuitive layout and data windows for pinpoint precision. With a lightweight interface, it doesn’t offer some of the more advanced features that MT4 does, for example, but it’s worth it for ease of use. There’s even built-in demo trading offered by TradingView directly, so no need to worry if you haven’t found a broker yet. If you have, you can combine hundreds of indicators and charting tools to start trading directly in TradingView (as long as your broker is able to connect to the platform). Simply put, TradingView is the first browser and cloud-based trading platform that is bringing charting to the masses.

FeaturesProsCons
Charting directly in your browser
Most intuitive charting platform
Limited order types
Powerful Pinescript language
Platform available on most devices
Payment necessary for some data
Simulation and back-testing available
Huge number of assets
Advanced features require paid account
Thousands of community-built indicators
Easy to build strategies and systems
Community can be immature
Automated trading possible
Great educational resources
Demo trading can be buggy
Economic data
Screeners
Trade directly from charts
Versatile and agile
Customize charts to your liking
Charts are highly customizable
Plenty of brokers to pick from
Offers demo trading
Powerful alerts

5. cTrader

The cTrader platform was introduced in 2010 by Spotware, and raised the standards of the online trading industry. The cTrader platform was designed to be used by ECN brokers, with several top names already using this trading platform, so it is a desirable platform for those traders who like trading directly through an ECN. 

The main functions of the platform are charting and trade execution. Therefore, the cTrader charting interface is very clean and easy to use because of its simple UI. Traders are issued with tickets containing every detail of the trade, and there is an option to analyze all the trade performance as a whole, for individual pairs, for a certain time, and so on. cTrader also has the Open API for traders to build their own trading apps. cTrader is used by several well-known brokers, so your broker is likely to be able to connect.

FeaturesProsCons
Electronic communications network platform
Large online community
Not fully customizable
Reliable and fast execution
Analysis of trading performance
Low number of EA and custom indicators
cTrader Automate
In-depth price analysis tools
Use of C# language instead of MQL
Copytrading
Intuitive layout
Connects with many brokers
Advanced order types
Platforms for Windows, Web, Mobile
Fast entry and execution
Over 60 Indicators
cTrader Copy

Top-6 Broker Platforms

1. eToro is the best social trading platform, with CopyTrader and two types of trading portfolios

2. IG is another ECN platform, with an extensive number of markets and trading instruments

3. Oanda is a popular ECN broker/platform with no minimum deposit and an enhanced educational section

4. Dukascopy is a Swiss-regulated bank/broker with features such as slippage control, PAMM accounts, and prompt customer service

5. AvaTrade has some interesting features such as trade protection, price alerts, and access to data from AvaTrade traders

6. FXCM offers some high quality education for traders and great technical research tools

1. eToro

As forex trading became increasingly popular, social trading also became popular. eToro was founded in 2007 and was one of the first brokers to introduce social trading en masse. In fact, it’s what eToro is most famous for. 

There are a large number of traders on eToro who form a vibrant community. The eToro platform has put a lot of work into the community aspect of their platform, even offering a translation option for international traders. The best feature of the eToro platform is the eToro CopyTrader, which evaluates top traders according to a smart performance analysis that evaluates leverage, exposure, number of trades open, volatility of traded assets, etc. to find the best traders for you to copy.

Traders can also have ready-made portfolios, which is another great feature for picking stocks in specific markets, like 5G or cloud computing. Portfolios can either be regular CopyTrader portfolios with certain CFDs and stocks picked by your followed traders, or Top Trader Smart Portfolios, where anyone on eToro can follow a number of top traders with the best performance score for long-term, double-digit returns. If you are an experienced trader, you can also offer your services for a fee for other traders to copy your trades.

FeaturesProsCons
Community-focused platform with 20m+ users
Non-expiring demo account
Less advanced than other platforms
CopyTrade makes trading simple
Vibrant trading community
Partially customized platform
Fast account opening process
Low withdrawal and inactivity fees
No streaming news
Demo accounts
Social trading
Inactivity fee
Trade Stocks, ETFs, Crypto, Equities and more
CopyTrade
Limited number of ETFs
0% commission on certain assets
Two types of copy portfolios
Not available in every U.S. state
Spreads as low as 1 pip for certain forex pairs
High quality education
Reports of poor customer service
$5 withdrawal fee and $10 inactivity fee after 1 year
Trading instrument sentiment indicator
$200 minimum account deposit
Strong cybersecurity standards
Back-testing and forex strategy optimization
Bankruptcy protection

*This content does not apply to US users and eToro USA LLC does not offer CFDs.

2. IG

The IG Group is a London-based financial firm, founded in 1974. The broker is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the U.K. and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) in Australia, as well as authorities in Japan, Switzerland, and more. They offer a wide range of financial markets to trade, including forex, options, futures, commodities, cryptocurrencies, indices, and bonds. Unfortunately, if you’re in the U.S., you’re limited to forex trading with IG.

They also offer a number of trading platforms to use, from the usual third-party platforms such as MT4 or cTrader, to their web-based platform and mobile application. IG has also introduced a new feature, the Smart Portfolio, which is an EA advisory service for traders to select among automatically managed low-cost portfolios for high returns. 

The only downside to IG is that it has relatively high fees compared to some of the others on our list, but it makes up for this with an excellent web platform, an extensive education section, and wide range of deposit and withdrawal options.

You can get our full verdict in our exclusive article about IG.

FeaturesProsCons
A wide range of markets covered
Intuitive layout that’s easy to learn
Dormant account fees
Powerful alerts
IG Smart Portfolio
No social/copy trading
Clean, easy to use interface
Best trading app for tablets
Lacking customer support
Excellent mobile and tablet apps
Advanced orders, even on mobile
Limited availability in U.S.
Risk mitigation features, including guaranteed stops
Multi-source price feed
High fees
Unlimited access to Thomson Reuters’ news streaming service
Watchlists
Management fees + % fees for Smart Portfolio
Virtual private server to install algorithms that automate trading
Forex trading educational resources
IG Smart Portfolio managed automatically
Connects with AutoChartist
IG Academy offers a complete forex trading course
Live webinars

3. Oanda Trade

Oanda is one of the most famous brokers in the retail forex industry, founded in 1996, and is regulated by several top-tier authorities. Besides linking with third-party platforms, Oanda also offers its own trading software, with a user-friendly web platform and desktop/mobile applications. 

The Oanda web platform is modern-looking, using charts provided by TradingView, and keeps information overload to a minimum. The price feed is provided by 25 central banks, making it an excellent ECN broker. The desktop platform is fully customizable, and offers sophisticated technical analysis tools, as well as featuring a wide range of financial instruments.

FeaturesProsCons
Well-designed layout
Ideal for forex trading
No negative balance protection
Fully personalized chart layouts from TradingView
One of the top FX brokers in the U.S.
Inactivity charges
Ability to drag charts to different screens
Interbank ECN
Only forex and CFDs
50+ drawing tools
Fairly low fees
No price alerts
Very low spreads during liquid periods
No minimum deposit requirement
No guaranteed stop losses
Great research and educational resources
Up-to-minute news
Limited asset selection
Wide array of analysis, news, calendars and data analytics feeds
Economic calendar
Straightforward account opening
Multi-source price feed
Regularly-updated market analysis
Many educational videos and webinars

4. Dukascopy

Dukascopy is a very reputable name in the trading industry. Dukascopy is a Swiss and Japanese regulated bank that offers some of the best broker services in our opinion. Apart from being a very safe broker to trade with, it offers its own trading platform, JForex, which rivals MT4 in capabilities. It’s rich with features, plenty of built in indicators, and has the ability to add custom indicators.

Dukascopy offers  over 650 assets to trade and a wide range of orders for advanced traders to utilize. It also places an emphasis on research resources, with news streams from Reuters and MarketPulse, alongside analysis and their own visual content channel. These factors make Dukascopy is an excellent all-round broker.

FeaturesProsCons
A very wide range of markets covered
A regulated bank broker
High minimum deposit
Rich and advanced platform
Interbank CCN
High commissions
More than 250 indicators to use
Slippage control function
Reports of long withdrawal times
Many unusual orders types, such as stop limit, place bid/offer, OCO, IFD
Modern trading platform
Restricted leverage
Inbuilt customer support
Multi-source price feed
14 days only demo account
Multi-language interface for JForex Platform
EsiSwisse deposit insurance scheme
Limited funding options
Algo trading
Advanced features on platform
News and economic calendar
250+ trading indicators
Managed account option by professional traders
Multi-language platform
Excellent research resources

5. AvaTrade

Founded in 2006, AvaTrade is primarily a forex broker, and is regulated in Ireland, Australia, Japan, among others. Avatrade offers a decent web platform as well as the mobile AvaTradeGo platform, and can connect with MT4 and MT5. The web trading platform is quite simple to understand, use, and trade with, although it consumes PC resources and has limited customization. 

With AvaTrade you get access to AvaSocial, AvaTrade’s copy trading platform. The web platform, as well as the mobile app, has some interesting tools and indicators, with a responsive layout. It also features AvaProtect, a tool that allows you to hedge a forex position with an adjacent option – although this comes at a cost.

But one of the downsides is that the product portfolio is limited as it offers only CFDs, forex, and cryptos, which is enough for most, but some traders might want access to more markets. Its commissions are around average for the industry, but its compelling features that aren’t seen elsewhere make AvaTrade a great choice.

FeaturesProsCons
An easy and fully digitalized process to open an account
$0 withdrawal/deposit fees
Limited number of trading instruments
No deposit and withdrawal fees
Low CFD spreads
Occasional crashes of AvaTradeGo platform
One stop shop register and deposit mobile platform
Easy account opening process
$50/quarter inactivity fees
Price alerts on AvaTradeGo
Easy to access web platform
Administration fees
AvaProtect option for safer trading
AvaProtect order types
Slow withdrawals, up to 3 days
Offers trade ideas and news feed
AvaTradeGo including AvaOptions
$100 minimum deposit
Web platform friendly and well designed, but not customizable
Great research tools
No price alerts on web platform
AvaOptions platform for options trading
Wide range of deposit options
CFDs for cryptocurrencies

6. FXCM

 

FXCM Logo

FXCM stands for Forex Capital Market, and is a well-renowned broker that was created in 1999. Based in the UK, it provides forex and CFD trading for retail clients. It offers fairly low fees, with a straightforward account opening process and an emphasis on educational resources with nearly 200 articles on trading tips and strategies. 

FXCM has its own trading platform, Trading Station, which caters to traders of every level. It’s extremely customizable, with a powerful search function and many types of orders. It also has a mobile app that is user-friendly, although some have noted it needs updating for 2022. FXCM also connects with MT4, MT5, and NinjaTrader, and offers algorithmic trading for its clients. Overall, FXCM is a great choice if you’re looking for an advanced platform with a decent variety of assets to trade.

FeaturesProsCons
Covers corex, CFDs and cryptocurrency markets
Guaranteed stop losses
$50 dormant account fees
High-quality educational content
Customizable web platfrom
Only 4 base currencies
Fast account opening process
Great search function
High bank withdrawal fees
Great technical research tools
Forex strategy optimization
No price alerts
No deposit/withdrawal fees for debit/credit cards
Decent research content, with trade ideas
Minimum deposit for non-EU clients at $50
Low trading costs
Free debit card withdrawal
Not as many assets to trade as other brokers
$50 charge for one year of inactivity
Good customer support
Low CFD spreads
Regulated by a number of top authorities
Back-testing and forex strategy optimization
Algotrading
High number of orders, such as One-Cancel-Other (OCO), Good-Till-Date (GTD), Good-Till-Cancel (GTC), Immediate or Cancel (IOC) and Fill or Kill (FOK)

How to Select the Best Forex Trading Platform for You

Forex brokers come in many shapes and sizes, with different areas they excel in – like your average trader. If you don’t know what type of broker is best for you, you should go through our broker choosing guide to help make your decision.

A trader must first know themselves to identify what broker will be best for them. Traders that specialize in short term trading and scalping would be better off with a broker that offers low spreads during liquid hours, such as Oanda. Traders new in the business might want to go with brokers that provide high quality education such as FXCM.

Traders that trade overnight and want their positions protected while they’re asleep might prefer AvaTrade for the AvaProtect option. Frequent traders should avoid brokers with high trading fees, but traders taking positions for the long term might not mind paying for a broker with a wide range of advanced features, like Dukascopy.