If you’re new to Forex trading, then one of the first things that you’ll need to choose is your trading platform. Foreign exchange traders will use one of the online platforms offered commercially and often log on several times a day to check the latest market indices, trading results, spread bets and industry news.
Essentially, a trading platform is a software platform that provides real time information between the broker and trader. The forex platform will provide a range of essential information such as charts and quotes and it will provide an interface for entering orders. These will then be carried out by the broker.
The forex platform software can be installed onto the trader’s laptop, computer or even mobile phone for a mobile application. Most can be used with a variety of operating systems, including Windows, Linus and Macs. Each broker will offer a different range of options. Others will offer web-based software, which usually run with Java, which is a dynamical web code.
Web-based forex trading platforms have the advantage of being highly accessible by any device with internet access. The majority of basic level trading platforms are free, but some brokers will offer additional functionalities for a cost. Others will offer different platform levels depending on activity.
Online forex trading will use similar security protocols as other online systems. They provide a go-between for the trader and broker. Platforms will provide historical data to traders, as well as real-time data. Access will also be provided to the full range of forex orders available to trade.
A common type of trading software is third-party, thanks to application progamme interface software (APIs), which allow traders to integrate proprietary or third-party add-ons into their platforms.
Questions to consider when choosing your Platform
Find out if the platform is free, or whether there are charges. If there are charges, what extra features do these buy?
What technical indicators are provided in the charts of the system? Can you trade from the charts?
Is the platform based on Windows, internet, Mac or Linux? Make sure the operating system is compatible with your own and that your firewalls and other security settings allow it to run.
Can you access historical data? This is important to establish trends and long-term patterns.
Can you back-test trading strategies? This is an important strategy for new traders looking to develop more sophisticated approaches.
Can you get on with the graphical user interface? Everyone will have their own preferred interface, but generally you want something clean, simple and easy to navigate.
Is there a demo account that you can get to grips with before making a buy decision? Most providers will offer a free demo of their forex trading account so that potential users can explore the features before committing to a sign-up.
Another good approach is to read trading forums and find out which platforms are recommended by more experienced users. It is well worth taking some time to make the right decision with regards to the best platform for your particular needs, as, once you are trading, it will become more difficult to switch at a later date.