A Guide to the Best Trading Platforms
So you’re ready to give up your nine to five job and start day trading from a balcony overlooking the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. The only problem is, you don’t quite know where to start, and the more you learn about this potentially profitable hustle, the more questions you have. That’s alright, let’s get you one step closer to the dream life with this list of the best day trading platforms available on the internet – complete with noteworthy features, tools, and services unique to each one.
Keep in mind, there are government-enforced regulations on who can be officially recognized as a “Pattern Day Trader,” and unless you have $25,000 in a trading account, then you will be limited to just three trades (buys and sells) over the course of five business days; that five day period is also a rolling period. This means that if you make a day trade on a Tuesday, it will count against your day trade number until the following Tuesday. Check out our article on Day Trading Rules that Beginners Should Know to learn more about the “PDT” rule.
Whether you’re a day trader, swing trader, or value investor employing a more conservative long-term investment strategy, Fidelity is an excellent trading platform to utilize, given its smooth mobile interface and $0 commission for online U.S. stock, ETF, and options trades (plus $0.65 per contract for option trades).
As a privately held company, they work with over 40 million individual investors, have some $11.8 trillion of assets under administration, and facilitate on average about 2.8 million trades per day.
Furthermore, Fidelity offers account holders an overview of what’s happening right now in specific markets and sectors as well as news and analysis to help you understand the potential short- and long-term impacts certain events may catalyze.
Dig into the details with research reports on 4,500+ stocks from more than 20 independent, third-party research firms. Their vast selection of educational resources also includes over 200 videos, progress tracking, quizzes, and over 100 monthly webinars, among others.
Webull makes it easy to build out your portfolio with a comprehensive suite of investment products including stocks, fractional shares, options, ETFs, and ADRs. A fractional share is when you own less than one whole share of a company. Fractional shares allow you to purchase stocks based on the dollar amount you want to invest, so you may end up with a fraction of a share, a whole share, or more than one share.
Furthermore, everyone has access to Webull’s advanced and fully customizable desktop platform. You can consolidate your watchlists, analyze charts, place orders, and check your positions across all of Webull’s platforms (mobile, PC, and web).
Diversify your holdings by investing in digital currencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin.
According to an analysis of publicly available competitor data concerning number of mobile users and daily average revenue trade levels, TD Ameritrade is the leader in mobile trading. Their mobile app enables investors and traders the ability to:
- Trade stocks, ETFs, and options with easy and intuitive order entry and editing.
- Explore integrated charts with indicators, set up price alerts, access watch lists, and get real-time quotes.
- Access market news, view third-party analyst reports and get third-party research.
E*TRADE is one of the original online trading platforms and is still ranked among the best. From dynamic charting and risk-reward analysis to plain-English translations of industry jargon, you have everything you need to support your style of trading. Plus the innovation never ends. You can even hone your skills and test strategies without committing real money using Paper Trading. Several noteworthy features include:
- Charting tools that automatically populate charts with technical analysis patterns and education.
- Easily understand the probabilities of an option trade at a glance.
- Advanced intraday and historical charting with 100+ studies, 30+ drawing tools, and many chart types.
- Risk analysis tools that help you translate the options Greeks into plain English.
Schwab.com is the online trading platform that helps you research, execute, and manage your trades quickly and easily. Open an account without having to worry about account fees or minimum deposit requirements, plus enjoy commission-free online trades and $0.65 per-contract fees for options.
StreetSmart Edge is the broker’s premier trading platform that’s designed to align and optimize its tools for your strategy. Making sophisticated technology approachable, users take advantage of linked tools and a flexible layout working together to make finding, evaluating, and placing trades quicker and easier.
The Interactive Brokers web application serves as your one-stop destination to check quotes and place trades, see account balances, P&L and key performance metrics, funding, reporting, and more. No downloads needed, view, trade, and manage your account with one login, the new Client Portal homepage provides a streamlined view of your account that includes all of the information you need.
Click any position to see comprehensive product information on the quote details page. Customize your charts with a click to change the time period, add technical indicators such as SMA, EMA, Bollinger Bands, and display volume charts.
All self-directed clients can access Merrill Edge MarketPro with no minimum trade requirements, no minimum deposits and no commission fees – so you can focus on your trading style, not the costs.
Create a customized dashboard and analyze the market your way by saving up to 25 layouts and utilizing 26 fully-customizable windows available to build your trading space. Chart your way with access to over 104 technical indicators and 25 drawing tools.
Ally Invest procures a wide selection of resources to help investors of all experience levels make the most of their investments, including advanced charting tools and numerous calculators. They take pride in providing clients with the best customer service possible. When you contact them, you’ll have access to brokers who can answer your investment questions.
For investors who want to manage their own portfolio, you can start trading stocks and ETFs for $0 with no account minimums. Other fees may apply.
TradeStation’s desktop trading platform delivers all the power, speed and flexibility active traders demand: dynamic market-scanning tools, fully customizable charting, fast and reliable trade execution, advanced order management and fully automated strategy trading. Their award-winning technology is powerful.
With RadarScreen, trading opportunities have nowhere to hide. RadarScreen continuously monitors and ranks up to 1,000 symbols in real-time, based on more than 180 fully customizable technical and fundamental indicators, as well as virtually unlimited amounts of your own custom criteria, through EasyLanguage – TradeStation’s proprietary easy-to-learn programming language designed for traders allows you to design customized indicators and trading strategies using English-like statements.
Simulated trading gives you the ability to design and test your trading plan, hone your trading skills, and execute simulated demo trades with the same high-quality market data – without risking a penny.
For those who are hoping to engage in day trading on Robinhood, it is possible, by a technicality. While most veteran day traders tend to use alternative brokers, the Robinhood application does provide a number of unique benefits to beginners, such as its lack of fees, friendly user experience, and educational opportunities.
A trailblazer among trading platforms, Robinhood was the first broker, largely app-based, to not pass commission fees, or really any fees, on to customers for sales with a notional value of $500 or less. In addition, they didn’t require an account minimum of $500 to $1,000 like most other established firms. This all goes along with their founding mission to “provide everyone with access to the financial markets, not just the wealthy.” Hence, the company’s name is inspired by a folk hero who took from the wealthy and gave to the poor.
All in all, Robinhood won’t charge you fees to open your account, to maintain your account, or to transfer funds to your account. Generally speaking, as long as your buys and sells are around or less than $500, you more than likely will not incur any fees, and if you do, they will be as nominal as possible. For more information on potential Robinhood day trading fees, we encourage you to look up a page on their website titled Trading Fees On Robinhood.
If you enjoyed this guide to the best trading platforms, be sure to check out our list of Day Trading Rules That Beginners Should Know.
Legal Disclaimer: I am not a certified financial planner/advisor nor a certified financial analyst nor an economist nor a CPA nor an accountant nor a lawyer. I am not a finance professional through formal education. This Content is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.