A platform is essential for opening, managing, and closing forex trades on the currency market. It is probably the most important software needed for forex traders, especially the short-term traders. This is because they follow technical trading strategies and spend many hours working on their trading platforms. Actually, the trading platform chosen by you significantly impacts your trading performance. The platform should provide you with the required tools and be reliable and stable. The aim of this post is to give you some idea as regards the top 3 retail forex trading platforms that you must consider for your forex trades in order to become successful.
Features of Best Forex Trading Platforms
In order to qualify as the best currency trading platform, it should offer the following features:
Real-time price quotes: This aspect may not have a direct link to the platform but real-time price quote is actually the foundation of successful forex trading, especially in the case of retail traders. This is because many of the retail traders are day traders and they hold their trades just for a few hours.
Security and reliability: The best currency trading platforms are those that are reliable and secure because trades worth a few thousand dollars are to be handled. The platform should not freeze as soon as you open a trade.
Advanced charting tools: Traders spend a lot of time on their forex trading platform analyzing price charts. This means the availability of charting tools is an important aspect to be considered when choosing a forex platform. The best platforms offer several charting tools, including trend lines, Fibonacci levels, and channels. Further, the tools should be easily accessible.
Market order types: Most of your orders may be executed instantaneously. However, the advantage provided by pending orders in specific situations cannot be neglected. For example, breakout traders could place Sell Stop/Buy Stop orders at their desired price levels and allow their trading platforms do the rest instead of waiting for the occurrence of the actual breakout. Most of the best forex trading platforms offer a wide range of market orders.
Online support: As you involve in forex trading, you may have many questions related to various aspects. The presence of a strong online community helps you overcome your challenges pretty quickly. It is better to work with large currency trading platform providers in this regard because a larger customer base often creates a stronger online community.
Now that you have some idea as to what you should look for in a forex trading platform, let us discuss some details about the best retail trader forex trading platforms.
- MetaTrader 4
MetaTrader 4 is one of the most popular currency trading platforms, especially among retail forex traders. The platform was introduced in 2005, but it continues to figure among the top three platforms. This is because it has a simple and extremely user-friendly interface. The platform’s interface is segregated into 5 main windows. These are the Toolbar, Navigator, Terminal, Market Watch, and Chart windows.
The most commonly used tools that the platform offers are the basic charting tools, varied timeframes, and other functions related to the chart such as changing the type of chart and zooming in and out.
The Navigator provides information about certain accounts and details related to Expert Advisors and technical indicators, while the Market Watch section lists out all of the tradeable instruments. These instruments can be applied to the price charts pretty quickly. The Terminal, however, displays the list of pending and active orders, unrealized profit or loss, margin that has been used and available, and the total account balance and equity.
MetaTrader 4 has a large online community as millions of traders use the platform. You just have to reach out to one of the forums to get answers for your questions.
- MetaTrader 5
MetaTrader 4 is the most widely used forex trading platform, even though its successor MetaTrader 5 has new and upgraded features. All of the MetaTrader 4 functionalities are also available on the MetaTrader 5 platform.
MetaTrader 5 offers a greater variety of timeframes and graphical objects and additional technical indicators, taking its charting capabilities to a whole new level. They help traders analyze price charts better.
In addition, it incorporates more pending orders than its predecessor. New order types that are offered as default are Sell Stop Limits and Buy Stop Limits. They basically combine Limit and Stop orders.
Further, MetaTrader 5 features an economic calendar that can be accessed directly from the Toolbox window (Navigator window of MT4). The Strategy Tester has also been upgraded. It now enables backtesting of multiple currencies and multiple threads using real ticks rather than closing prices. Moreover, MetaTrader 5 has by far the best forex web-trading platform.
However, only a few brokers support this platform as of now. The online community is also not as big as that of MetaTrader 4.
NinjaTrader is best suited for professional traders. Many brokers specify volume requirements in order to provide access to this platform. NinjaTrader also offers advanced charting tools, automatic trading, and backtesting facility. Further, NinjaTrader incorporates more details and adds complexity to these features. Beginners may find them to be a little overwhelming. Charts and indicators can be customized in many ways and traders can also apply data feeds from several different sources to the charts.
While the Strategy Tester from MetaTrader focuses on historical prices, NinjaTrader’s tester enables both back and future testing of their trading robots. While MetaTrader 4 and 5 use the MetaQuotes Language developed in-house which is based on C, NinjaTrader uses a language that is identical to C#. This means that developers with a background C# can easily write code for NinjaTrader.
MetaTrader 4 is a well-rounded package. If you are a beginner trader, you don’t have to look beyond this platform. As and when the broker support and user base of MetaTrader grow you can move from MetaTrader 4 to MetaTrader 5 to take advantage of its upgraded features. NinjaTrader is loaded with tools and features, but still lags behind both MetaTrader 4 and 5 and is more suited for professional traders.
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