5 Best Trading Platforms to use in your investment journey

The best trading platforms offer a variety of robust features at a low price.

Do you want to buy stocks of multinational companies like Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Tesla, and more? Or perhaps you want to buy ETFs, mutual funds, and other securities? If so, you might want to find a brokerage firm with an innovative and intuitive platform that could help you achieve your investment and financial goals.

Suppose you are a seasoned trader who wants to beat the market. In that case, you may have a clear picture of what you should be looking for: innovative trading tools, education and market research, customer service, the latest news articles, and a comprehensive trading platform. If you are a beginner in trading (be it stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, etc.) and you want to jump on board, then those things are the ones you should be looking for when choosing a brokerage firm and its trading platform. Every broker’s trading platform has its strengths and weaknesses, and they only differ on the scale of those characteristics. The features, strengths, and weaknesses are the deciding factors when choosing a trading platform, especially when almost all brokerage firms are offering low to $0 commission on stocks and ETF trades. After all, what is the use of a more affordable platform when it has fewer features to offer? With this in mind, you should carefully look for feedback ratings and reviews (but keep in mind that not all reviews are free from bias).

In this article, we feature 5 of the best trading platforms that you can choose based on your priorities.

Note: To use a trading platform, you may need to meet specific criteria. Day trading platforms, for instance, may require traders to have at least $25,000 in equity in their accounts and be allowed for margin trading before they may trade.


1. What is a trading platform?

Before going to the five best trading platforms, you first need to know what a trading platform is. A trading platform is a kind of computer trading system that uses computer software for trading. It allows investors to open, close, and manage market positions through a financial intermediary, a broker, most of the time. Brokers frequently provide online trading platforms for free or at a reduced charge in exchange for keeping a funded account or performing a certain number of deals per month.


2. 5 Best Trading Platforms



  1. 1. TD Ameritrade

Fees:

Stocks Trades 

$0.00

ETF Trade

$0.00

Options:

$0.65 per options contract

Mutual Fund Trade Fee

$49.99

Account minimum

$0.00

Promotion:

none as of this moment.


TD Ameritrade is one of the more popular trading platforms offering brokerage services to investors and traders. It is a well-received platform for all, especially for beginners who are still studying trading know-how. The platform is intuitive, and the market research, education, and customer service they offer are delightful. These things made TD Ameritrade stand out among the rest.


The web platform of Ameritrade allows investors to access research materials, planning tools, and other educational resources that could help them understand the market better. The platform likewise enables investors to access market data, fundamental data, and news from Yahoo Finance.


On the other hand, if you are an active and seasoned trader then, the thinkorswim desktop might be the right for you. It is a trading platform that has elite tools for analysis and strategies. It also has the ability to look for potential risks and rewards in the market. It is also customizable and has downloadable software.


Ameritrade also offers thinkorswim web, which is a streamlined version.


Their mobile trading platforms are equally great. Ameritrade is a leader in mobile trading, and they are offering two mobile trading platforms the TD Ameritrade Mobile (casual) and thinkorswim Mobile (feature-hungry). With these, investors can track their investments through their smartphones.



  1. 2. InteractiveBrokers


Fees:

Stocks Trades 

$0.00

ETF Trade

$0.00

Options:

$0.65 per options contract

Mutual Fund Trade Fee

$14.95

Account minimum

$0.00

Promotion:

Exclusive! 0.25% cut back on margin loans


InteractiveBrokers has an edge against other platforms since it has a platform catered to professionals, but beginners can still use their other platforms. Like the other, it has an excellent education and research feature.

First among their platforms is the client portal, a simple and intuitive portal where investors can view, trade, and manage their accounts. This client portal is best for beginners. Investors can see essential metrics, track their portfolio performance, and other necessary information in just a glance.

On the other hand, their IB Trader Workstation (TWS) is a platform full of advanced trading tools fit for seasoned traders. It has a market scanner, portfolio builder, algo trading, volatility lab, etc. It also has an enhanced mosaic and customizable charts.

IBKR Mobile is another platform of InteractiveBrokers that allows investors to manage their accounts on the go. Investors just need to download the app, and they can already use the platform. With its access to multiple institutional-quality research, IBKR Mobile is comparable to the desktop IB Trader Workstation with the amount of market-moving data and information it can provide.


  1. 3. Fidelity


Fees:

Stocks Trades 

$0.00

ETF Trade

$0.00

Options:

$0.65 per options contract

Mutual Fund Trade Fee

$49.95

Account minimum

$0.00

Promotion:

none as of this moment.


Like the first two, Fidelity is suitable for all, though it is best for everyday investors. Likewise, it is a good starting point for beginners with the abundant research materials they make available for their investors.


Just like other brokers, Fidelity offers three different platforms where inventors can manage their accounts. Fidelity offers trading through its mobile platform (application), website, and desktop platform.


Fidelity’s website provides the fundamental tools investors will need when managing their accounts and portfolio. It is easily navigable as well. In addition, it has an advanced screener and a strategy testing tool.


The mobile app is comparable to the website with its impressive multi-leg options trading, streamlined research offerings, and real-time quotes.


Their final trading platform is the Active Trader Pro platform which active traders unsurprisingly prefer. It is loaded with trading tools and has a multi-trade ticket, technical and options filter, probability calculator, Active Trader Pro shortcuts, Fidelity’s Learning center, etc.



  1. 4. Charles Schwab

Fees:

Stocks Trades 

$0.00

ETF Trade

$0.00

Options:

$0.65 per options contract

Mutual Fund Trade Fee

$49.95

Account minimum

$0.00

Promotion:

none as of this moment.


Charles Schwab is another popular broker that has equally popular trading platforms. It has various platforms suited for all investors, namely the StreetSmart Edge, Schwab.com (website), and StreetSmart Central.

The platform on the website has the basic capabilities needed for trading so, this is more suitable for beginners. On the other hand, StreetSmart Edge, their desktop platform, is a customizable platform that can be downloaded. Compared to others, StreetSmart Edge is easier to learn, and the experience it gives is enough.

StreetSmart Central is a web-based platform for options and futures trading. It also has amazing trading tools.


  1. 5. E*TRADE

Fees:

Stocks Trades 

$0.00

ETF Trade

$0.00

Options:

$0.65 per options contract

Mutual Fund Trade Fee

$19.99

Account minimum

$0.00

Promotion:

A chance to get $600 or more when you open and fund an account using the code BONUS21


E’TRADE has a plethora of features that traders would like. Their web trading platform is particularly good.

Power E*TRADE, is an innovative platform compact with easy-to-use trading tools for stocks, options, and futures trading. Tracking the market is easy on this platform. Its charting tool is also good; it automatically a chart and provides analysis patterns.

On the other hand, E*TRADE is a web-based platform with all the necessary trading tools. Investors can track the market, can access research, and place trades through this.

3. Things to look at when searching for the best trading Platforms

1. Fees. Low-cost offerings are one of the primary features of the best trading platforms. The best trading platforms that an investor could choose are those that allow investors to trade, buy, and sell stocks, options, mutual funds, and others and manage their accounts for meager fees. Commissions are not the only fees in investment so, while brokers offer $0 commission, especially on stocks and ETF, investors should still look at the other fees. Other costs include withdrawal fees, maintenance fees, transfer fees, closing account fees, paper statement fees, inactivity fees, expense ratio (mutual funds and exchange-traded funds), etc.

2. Direct and Timely Customer Support. Regardless of your experience, whether you are a beginner or an active trader, there are things bound to happen. If you meet a problem that you cannot solve, you must call or contact customer service or chat support. Hence, efficient, direct, and effective customer service is needed.

3. Platform and tools. The platform is the portal to the market. Through the platform, an investor can access their investments, the market position, and such. Thus, a platform that has fundamental and innovative analysis tools is a better choice. Innovative tools are the ones you will constantly deal with as an investor, so an intuitive and innovative platform that could assist you in your investments is necessary. In addition, a good platform must have a clear buy and sell button is a must since a poor interface might result in costly mistakes.

4. Demo Accounts. This is in connection with the platform. Most brokers offer demo accounts. Through this demonstration account, you can have a better experience of what it feels like using a particular platform. You can better assess and evaluate a platform, including its ease-of-use, automated trading options, order placement, charts, and others if you have a first-hand experience of it.

5. Premium Research and News. Premium research and news are indispensable assets when trading. With access to the latest market trends and research, an investor could better assess the market and thus arrive at a better trading strategy.