Whatever your personal circumstances, you’ll need a good trading platform to try your hand at beating the market and help you manage your investments. There is a myriad of services to choose from, all offering different features and fees, and deciding between them all can be daunting.
In this guide, we have analysed fees, account options, customer service and features to produce a list of the best trading platforms for 2020. We will also cover 5 key factors you should keep in mind when making your selection.
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Best Trading Platform UK, US & Australia
The most beginner friendly site for English speaking that are beginning in online trading is eToro.
eToro - Top Choice for Crypto and Copy Trading
eToro is a well-known brokerage and investment firm founded in 2007, and boasts over 10 million registered users. It allows you buy the underlying assets for crypto and stocks, as well as trade them with leverage. Please note that only cryptocurrency is accessible for US customers - stocks will be added later this year.
eToro is most famous for its copy trading feature which allows users to mimic successful traders and copy their trading strategies and portfolio in a few clicks. Some of its popular investors have achieved triple digit annual growth with their portfolios.
When it comes to safety, eToro scores high : it is regulated by top-tier financial authorities including CySEC & FCA and ASIC.
eToro also offers a crypto wallet where investors can store their coins after purchasing them from the platform as well as easy to access cryptocurrency trading with 15 coins supported. It's certainly the best online trading platform for crypto.
The platform offers great customer support service available 24/7 from Monday to Friday and a large variety of assets spanning crypto, forex, stocks, ETFs, commodities and bonds.
eToro is a fantastic online trading site for beginners and those looking for a simple, interactive social trading experience. However, this brokerage may not be suitable for those looking for advanced trading features such as customizable technical analysis and research tools.
The minimum deposit is just $50 for US and Australian customers, and $200 for the rest of world of the world. Deposits over $10,000 are likely to qualify you for VIP account management.
Assets: Cryptocurrencies, Stocks, CFD, Forex, ETFs, Commodities
Demo Account: Yes
Educational Material: Great educational material for both beginners and advanced traders
Fees: $5 Withdrawal Fee, $5 Inactivity Fee, No Account Fee, No Deposit Fee
Minimum deposit: $200
Special Features: Copy Trading and social trading platform
Regulation: CySEC, FCA, ASIC, MiFID
Payment methods: Credit/debit card, Paypal, Sofort, Rapid transfer, Skrill, Wire transfer, Neteller, WebMoney, UnionPay
- Social trading leader
- Best mobile trading platform
- Paypal accepted
- Limited technical analysis tools
- Not well-suited for the more advanced investor
- $25 withdrawal fee
Best Site for Intermediate Traders
If you’re looking for a more professional site to perform deeper technical analysis then Plus500 is a good option.
Plus500 - FCA Regulated Platform with Low Spreads
Plus500 is a sophisticated CFD trading platform where investors can access 2,000+ trading instruments and 100+ technical indicators. Plus500 is one of the best trading platforms in the UK and is listed on the London Stock Exchange and licensed by the FCA, CySEC and Asic. It's the official shirt sponsor of Atletico Madrid.
Like eToro, Plus500 emerged in Israel, where it is also headquartered. Signing up on Plus500 is a very straight forward process. Once you do sign up, you can move on to making your deposit (£/$100 minimum).
The broker only has one account type and the maximum leverage can go up to 1:300 depending on the asset you want to trade with.
The brokerage offers an intuitive mobile app with charting enabled on Android, iPhone and iPad mobile stock trading apps.
When it comes to fees, Plus500 only charges on the spread, with a fee of 0.6 pips on average on EUR/USD trades. It's widely considered the best trading platform for forex.
Plus500, unlike eToro, offers customizable technical analysis charts and a much larger asset variety. Plus500 also offers great customer support.
Demo Account: Yes
Educational Material: No
Fees: £10 Inactivity Fee, £0 withdrawal fees
Minimum deposit : £100
Special Features: 2,000 trading instruments
Regulation: CySEC, FCA, ASIC
Payment methods: Credit/debit card, Paypal, Skrill, Bank transfer
- Minimum deposit of $100
- Over 2,000 trading instruments
- Mobile app available
- No education material
- An inactivity fee is charged
Recommended Auto Trading Platform
If you are a complete beginner and have limited free time, there is also a platform for you. Most of the services on this guide are brokerage companies where you have to trade manually. However, there are auto-trading software you can use to trade the markets with little experience required. One of such software is Bitcoin Trader.
Bitcoin Trader - Alleged 80% Win Rate Trading Bitcoin
Bitcoin Trader is the best trading platform for complete beginners.
What it has to add compared to the platforms listed in this review, is the fact that it is an automated trading platform. In a few words, the software carries out bitcoin trading and crypto trading so you don't have to, at an alleged accuracy level above 90%. Once you sign up and deposit funds you will be able to activate the auto-trading mode during which the robot itself will conduct a market and financial news analysis and will then place trades accordingly. The software connects with an available online broker depending on your location. Your funds will be channelled through the broker and the robot will use the broker's trading platform to place the actual trades.
Although the robot itself is unregulated, the brokers it connects with are, in most cases, reputable and regulated platforms. Bitcoin Trader is crypto trading platform only, meaning the app cannot do stock trading or forex trading. The cryptocurrencies included in the asset list are Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin amongst others. When it comes to fees, the robot itself has no hidden or additional charges.
Bitcoin Trader offers a fantastic demo account which you can use while you familiarise itself with the platform before placing real money trades. Assets: Cryptocurrencies
Demo Account: Yes
Educational Material: No
Fees: $0 Minimum deposit : $250
Special Features: Automated trading, no trading experience required.
Regulation: Depends on the broker
Payment methods: Credit/debit card, Bank transfer
- No trading fees
- Alleged win rate of 90%
- No trading experience required
- Not always accurate
- Only cryptocurrencies available
Top Online Trading Platform for U.S. Stock Traders
If you’re looking to trade on the go, the best trading platform to do so is Stash Invest. They are available to U.S. customers only and offer a free $5 bonus when you sign up.
Stash Invest - Mobile Investing Platform (U.S. Customers only)
Stash Invest is a fantastic mobile stock market app launched in 2015 to offer affordable way to buy stocks, ETF trading and investment services on an easy-to-use app. Stash has made a name for itself by offering a fantastic micro-investing feature which allows investors to begin trading with a minimum deposit as little as $5. New users are also rewarded with a free $5 bonus which they can use towards their investments.
When it comes to fees, Stash currently have 3 pricing options - all flat fee offerings, starting at $1 for the Beginner plan, $3 for the Growth plan, and $9 for Stash + account aimed for families who want to save and invest. In terms of product offering, Stash offers fractional shares and dividend reinvestments products as well as a retirement account options offering both Traditional and ROTH IRAs. This app is aimed at the investor who wishes to build a diversified portfolio investment overtime.
It is also suitable for those who are at the beginning of their investment journey and have limited resources or want to avoid high trading fees. It is worth noting that the only assets available to trade on Stash are Stocks and ETFs, so if you are looking for a crypto or forex trading platform in the U.S, give eToro a try.
Assets: Stocks and ETFs
Educational Material: Extensive online trading resources material for all kinds of users
Fees: Between $1 and $9 a month
Minimum deposit : $0 account minimum
Special Features: Themed investments, micro investing, low fees.
Payment methods: Credit/debit card, Bank transfer
- $5 bonus on sign up
- Fractional shares available
- Fees starting at as little as $1 per month
- No investment management
- Limited assets
Best MT4 Broker
If you’re a more experienced trader who wishes to trade forex currency pairs and analyze the financial markets, you may want to use a trading site that supports MT4. MT4 (Metatrader 4) is a trading platform that offers advantages such as mobile trading, trading signals and Expert Advisors, which can enhance your fx trading experience.
Libertex - Trade Forex, Stocks & Crypto with up to 30:1 Leverage
While Libertex may not be our most recommended trading platform for the UK, we do consider it to be a reputable broker. It is regulated by CySEC, one of the most trusted regulatory agencies in the industry and they offer a reasonable selection of financial products and a smooth online trading experience.
Libertex has built their proprietary platform which offers a variety of technical analysis tools, making it one of the best trading platforms for users looking for advanced tools such as momentum indicators, moving averages and Japanese candles.
This trading platform offers MetaTrader4, giving you access to customisation as well as trading signals and technical indicators. Libertex provides a trading robot provides which supplies a list of the top 10 rising and the top 10 falling instruments of the day to facilitate your investment choices. It also offers leveraged trading (1:30) and a demo account.
The broker does have some flaws though. Its asset variety is not as wide as it is for Plus500. In fact, this trading platform only offers 213 instruments. However, it is a fairly new trading site, which means that it might improve its asset variety with time.
It is also not available to U.S. customers and we find it to have a lack of educational resources. We would not recommend this platform to beginners, as it is more suitable for the seasoned trader looking to get access to advanced technical analysis features.
Assets: Forex, Indices, Commodities, Stocks, ETFs, Cryptocurrencies
Demo Account: Yes
Educational Material: Lack of educational resources
Fees: $10 Inactivity Fee, and Charges Transaction, Withdrawal and Overnight Fees
Special Features: List of top 10 rising and falling instruments of the day
- Easy-to-use trading platform
- CySEC regulated
- Minimum deposit of $10
- Non-trading fees are charged
- Offers 213 financial instruments only
How to Choose a Trading Site
One of the first things to consider before choosing which trading platform to invest your money and time on are fees. While trading can be a profitable way to invest, commissions and fees can really eat into your profits, so choosing an affordable platform is essential. There is significant variance between trading platforms when it comes to fees, but in general, you should be aware of the following charges when selecting a platform:
The first expense you will have to face when online trading is the minimum deposit. Trading platforms often charge minimum deposits, which are not actual fees because it is money that will be immediately available in your account once you deposit it, however it is worth keeping in mind especially if your capital is limited in which case you may need to raise funds to begin trading. The lowest minimum deposit platform is Stash Invest, which requires $5 only to place your first trade, making it the best trading platform for investors who may have a limited capital to begin with. This is followed by $50 at eToro (for US customers) and $100 at Plus500.
Trading fees are the most common when it comes to online trading platforms. These include commissions and spreads. Brokers may charge fixed spread, variable spread or commission based spreads. It is important that you read about the platform’s trading fees in detail before you begin trading as this can affect your bottom line. Some brokers may also have hidden overnight trading fees. eToro is a great choice for U.S. customers as they have one of the most affordable, transparent trading fees.
Non-trading fees relate to transaction fees, withdrawal fees and so on. The best choice if we consider non-trading fees alone is Plus500. The platform does charge fairly high trading fees, but it does not charge any non-trading fees. Below we explain some common non-trading fees:
Deposit fees are applied when you send money to your trading account from your bank account. Most platforms tend to offer free deposits, but if you are depositing funds with an international bank card, you should watch out for conversion rate fees.
Some brokers may charge a fee when you withdraw your funds. eToro, for instance, charges $5 fee on all withdrawals. The minimum withdrawal amount is $50.
Inactivity fees: Many trading platforms also charge an inactivity fee when you stop trading for a given period of time. This means that yiu need to be strategic about your trading activity to avoid getting charged after a longer time of no trade. If you are a buy and hold investor, you may want to avoid platforms with such fees.
Account fees: It is not uncommon for some trading platforms to charge an account fee in the form of flat monthly payments, especially when it comes to Australia share trading platforms or stock trading platforms such as IG. None of the platforms in this article charge account fees.
The trading tools available depend on the actual trading platform you are using. We consider MetaTrader4 or MT5 to be the best trading platforms out there. The only broker out of the ones we listed that uses MT4 is Libertex. The other platforms use different types of trading spaces, even though they are equally efficient.
Speed and order execution
The execution speed is a vital element to consider especially for a day traders. When trading or investing in fast-moving markets, the difference between losing and gaining thousands of dollars can boil down to a few milliseconds. Therefore, we suggest making sure that the platform you choose can keep up with your trading demands.
Some trading platforms offer the copy trading option, which allows traders to place the same trades as professional traders. This particular feature is what makes eToro stand out from the crowd. We consider it to be one of the best social trading brokers, and an ideal choice if you are a beginner and do not have a clear trading strategy in mind yet.
3. Asset Classes and Variety
Another thing to consider when choosing your online trading platform are the types of assets they offer and the variety. Asset variety and diversification are one of the most fundamental trading strategies and can help take your trading to the next level by balancing your portfolio and offsetting risks.
Regulation is another important factor to consider when choosing an online trading site. Whenever we review trading platforms, one of the first things we look at is whether or not they are regulated by financial bodies.
Holding a license means that agencies monitor how the investment firm’s operations closely. To maintain their regulatory status, the company has to abide by rules designed to protect the interests of customers.
Usability has to do with the ease of use of the trading platform in general as well as the sign up and verification process. After all, if you are serious about investing, you may end up spending a lot of time on the platform, so you want to avoid as many obstacles as possible. All the platforms we recommend have fairly simple sign up processes and intuitive interfaces.
Another thing to take into account in online trading is that many people confuse complexity with effectiveness. Most novices get overwhelmed when they find a platform that offers multiple features. They think that a complicated platform translates to an effective one and forget the concept of user-friendliness. Getting access to numerous features will not make you a successful trader.
A trading space that you find too complicated may actually overwhelm you and prevent you from making the most out of your trading experience. Make sure you familiarise yourself with the broker’s platform before you start investing on it. If you do not feel comfortable with it, we suggest moving on to a different trading platform.
When deciding between online trading sites, it is important to understand your investing goals and personal circumstances. Before you make your choice, assess your funds, risk tolerance and trading experience. You should also consider the trading platform’s fees and features available and whether they align with your trading style. For example, day traders who open and close multiple transactions per day should consider a platform with speed and low fees, whereas investors looking to trade forex may wish to use a service where leverage and margin trading is available.
Our overall recommended trading platform is eToro. They are the most beginner-friendly option and offer a flawless trading experience, with educational resources, reasonable fees, a large variety of assets and social trading. You can find out more about this fantastic platform in our eToro review.
eToro : Our recommended trading platform
- Social and Copy Trading Offered
- Trade Forex, CFDs, Stocks, Crypto and More!
- Accepts Paypal
How do I begin online trading?
If you've made the decision to start online trading, you should start by finding a good online trading platform by choosing one of the sites listed on this page.
How quickly can I begin trading after opening my account on a trading platform?
After you've signed up for an account, you'll need to deposit or transfer funds to the online trading platform and start investing. You may also need to go through KYC & verification process if you're using a regulated broker such as Plus500 or eToro. This can take 1-2 working days.
How do I decide whether a trading platform is right for me?
Some important criteria to consider when evaluating any trading platform are your funds, the type of assets you intend to purchase, your technical needs, trading style and how much you intend to transact.
How much money do I need to start online trading?
The Stash Invest platform has no no account minimums for both IRAs and taxable trading accounts. Once you sign up for an account, all you need to get started is enough money to meet the cost of a single share of stock as well as the trading commission if required. The other platforms listed on this page may require a minimum starting from $100 to begin trading
Is trading safe?
Any form of trading comes with a certain degree of risk, and online trading is no exception. As long as you conduct meticulous research and only use established online trading platforms, your investment will be safe. If you want to be extra cautious, go for a regulated platform where you will benefit from fund protection.