A trading terminal or a trading platform is a tool, without which it would be extremely difficult for a trader to earn money and even work in the financial markets at all. And indeed, with the advent of high-speed Internet and trading software, working on currency exchanges has become much more pleasant. Imagine that if all this hasn’t ever happened - you would have to find quotes from a TV, newspaper, radio or even by paper mail (as N. Darvas described in his wonderful book “Investor Dancer”) and send applications to the broker by phone, not via mobile Internet. And you would have to tell the broker the transaction amount, entry price, stop price, etc. By the way, some traders still use this method because they do not know another. But this is rather an exception to the rule, such "dinosaur-traders". In most cases, everyone has long been using modern trading programs, and telephone dealing has remained as a means of trading only in the event of an Internet collapse.
There is trading software, it would seem that everything is fine. But, over time, the number of programs for trading has become so many that in the end there is a new problem - which terminal to choose for trading? After all, they all differ quite a lot in terms of functionality, performance, capabilities, speed, security, design, and many of them are completely paid, is it worth it to pay extra for a trading platform? Today we’ll try to answer all these questions and in order to narrow the line of platforms, let’s talk about Forex terminals.
First of all, we note the fact that a trader must choose the trading platform solely for himself, for his own trading strategy and for its own trading tasks. If you do not have a trading strategy, choose the simplest and most popular forex trading terminal - this is of course MetaTrader 4.
The terminal is not without flaws, but it is free, has a good speed, is not demanding on system resources and is supported by most forex brokers. In addition, MT4 has the largest database of technical indicators, scripts and trading robots, as well as ample opportunities for programming its own algorithmic systems.
If you are a more demanding trader, then sooner or later MT4 capabilities will not be enough for you. It is rather related to market research. The trader will want to analyze the volume component, the flow of orders (print ribbon), “glass”, etc. MT4 is not suitable for such purposes, although with the help of third-party scripts, including paid ones, all these functions can be implemented, but the stability of their work often wants to leave the best. The second most popular MT5 trading terminal comes to the rescue - a newer version of the well-known terminal with new features.
Despite the fact that the first release of MT5 took place 9 years ago, many forex brokers have been introducing it very slowly. It is difficult to say what this is connected with - the price or for other reasons, but the fact remains - MT5 began to be widely introduced relatively recently: only 1-2 years ago. And then, many companies still cannot boast of their customers MT5 support.
MT5 has much more functionality compared to MT4:
- more timeframes;
- added "glass";
- improved testing capabilities of the strategy;
- added the ability to trade on other exchanges (license to trade at the CME exchange).
But MT5 has a much smaller base of indicators and scripts, and it cannot be said that MT5 is significantly more advanced in comparison with MT4. Any new MT5 function can be implemented using third-party scripts for MT4. It's good that the developers allowed to hedge instruments on the platform, since in the former releases this could not be done.
The next most popular terminal, which is supported by a dozen brokers, is the cTrader platform from Spotware. Initially, the terminal was created for ECN brokers and was positioned as an ECN platform with direct access to liquidity providers. But over time, ECN accounts became very affordable, the minimum threshold was lowered and many retail traders were able to test this platform. cTrader is a real competitor to the annoying MT4. There are several reasons for this: excellent speed, the convenience of working with orders directly from the chart, the design with a dark theme, stability and timely updates. Moreover, updates were issued for the most necessary functions: on the company's website, anyone could leave their opinion that he would like to add to the program. Each such post was supported or rejected by other participants. Those options that scored the most votes were integrated into the program. This is one of the reasons for the success of the cTrader platform, it is being developed according to the requirements of thousands of traders.
Another well-known platform that can compete with the above terminals is Ninjatrader. Despite the fact that you can trade in the forex market with this platform, this trading software has found the greatest application among futures traders. Many traders consider this program a reference one and compare it with MT4. The main advantages of the program: simplicity and nothing more, stability, a large database of indicators, flexibility in settings. Cons of the program: the free version of the program has basic functionality. For example, you cannot turn on ChartTrading and trade directly from the chart (move orders on the chart with one click of the mouse). To use these features, you need to purchase a program or pay for a monthly subscription. Another disadvantage is the lack of a mobile version of the platform.
All the above terminals are purely trading ones. These terminals are designed purely for speculative trading in the forex market, trading in CFD instruments and futures (NinjaTrader and MT5).
True, it is worth noting that in MT5 and in cTrader there is a built-in signal copying service. And it cannot be said that these services are much inferior to specialized terminals for copying signals - ZuluTrade and MirrorTrader.
ZuluTrade is one of the first signal copying services and currently the most popular platform for searching for signal providers. The service works with many forex brokers and can connect to MT4. A large number of social functions are integrated into the platform, which allows you to share ideas, opinions, communicate with each other, etc. The main feature of the platform, in our opinion, is the ZuluGuard algorithm, which disables the copying of signals from the trader if he began to deviate from his trading style and began to spend losses.
The main platform’s disadvantage is the fact that periodic communication problems (breaks) are noted when using the platform itself, therefore it is preferable to connect suppliers via MT4.
Mirror trader is another platform for analyzing charts and adding ready-made strategies to your portfolio. The platform offers a fairly extensive base of trading strategies, if you wish, you can create your own. A complete automatic following the strategy is available in the platform, or you can choose semi-automatic following with a flexible selection of parameters. For example, you can set your stop loss or take profit values, skip a signal and more. Disadvantage of the platform: some traders note the gluttony of system resources and periodic signal delays.
If you do not know which platform to choose, try each of them for yourself, test the functionality. This is the best way and it is much more effective than theoretically comparing the pros and cons of each platform. Try it yourself, since there are demo accounts for at least 14 days. Initially, demo accounts were not invented in order to train to trade on virtual money, but first of all, to get acquainted with the trading terminal.
Is it worth it to pay for the platform?
Everything is simple here. If you are a beginner trader - definitely not. Learn to start using the functionality that is provided for free. In most cases, it will be enough. And only if you don’t have enough of this functionality, for example, you want to analyze the volume component, foot print, cluster (through currency futures), only then you can try to get paid scripts or issue a get monthly subscription to the platform (Volfix, ATAS, SbPro X, paid indicators for NinjaTrader and MT4). But then again, it’s best to try the demo first. Do not buy the program until you make sure that it has the right set of functions for you.
In general, choose the terminal that is right for you, according to your strategy, your tasks and your preferences. And remember that the terminal is not always the cause of problems and poor execution of orders or signals. Very often, the problem may be in the broker itself or in the liquidity provider, less often - technical problems on the communication channel. Therefore, it is important to choose a platform from a reliable broker.
Author: Kate Solano for Forex-Ratings.com