Top 9 Trading Platforms in Australia
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eToro - N#1 Trading Platform
Trading platforms are software designed to help traders independently manage their trades. They can be web-based, mobile or desktop platforms. You can access your chosen platform at a place and time to suit you – all you need is a laptop, smartphone or tablet.
Many platforms are free or available at a discount if you have a funded account or make a certain number of trades each month. Some platforms offer access to analytical tools and educational resources.
There is a range of different stock markets and trading options available. Similarly, there are many different trading platforms, each one with unique features and benefits.
An important factor in choosing your trading platform is your level of trading expertise, but there are other factors to consider too.
In this article, you will learn the key points to consider when choosing a trading platform and gain information on the top 8 trading platforms in Australia.
Key Points to Remember When Choosing a Trading Platform
Analytical tools help traders track their trading activity. You can use them to view information such as profit and loss statistics or learn about general market activity.
The analytical tools available will depend on the platform’s target audience:
Platforms targeted at experienced traders usually have more in-depth analytical tools; platforms aimed at beginners tend to offer only basic analytical tools.
These could include videos, webinars and online courses.
Some platforms offer demo accounts so you can experiment with the features before committing to the platform.
Platforms for beginners tend to offer more educational resources. However, platforms aimed at experienced traders may have better quality educational tools.
Real-Time Feed and News
Up-to-date information is vital to profitable trading. Whether you need real-time information is determined by what you are trading and your trading schedule.
If you intend to swing trade or hold positions overnight, this is unlikely to be such a priority.
This varies between platforms. Some have a 24/7 support service; others only offer an email support function.
If you find technology difficult, you may wish to opt for a platform that offers a higher level of support and a phone-based service.
Ease of Use
Choose a platform that you find simple to navigate and visually appealing.
Markets can change fast, so you will need to be able to find your way around the platform easily.
The best way to test this is to set up a demo account or sign up for a trial period.
Types of Investment
Consider if you will be focussing on forex or want to be able to access all types of trading. Also, decide if you want to trade in overseas markets or just Australia.
If you plan to focus on two or more types of trading, you might wish to choose specialist platforms for each trading type.
The other option is to choose one broad platform to cover all types of investment.
Trading can be time-consuming. In an ideal world, you would be able to check your trading platform constantly throughout the day (although this may not be healthy for you).
A platform that will send you alerts and execute orders for you is a good choice if you have a lot of other commitments.
Trading is a risky business, so it is important to choose a platform that offers protection.
Once you have found a platform offering all the features you need, check the login options.
Biometric recognition (fingerprint or face) and two-factor authentications are the most secure options.
It is advisable to check if the platform is regulated by the ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission).
Top Trading Platforms Australia
Here are the top 9 trading platforms in Australia:
Best for: Beginners
It is ideal for social traders who want to copy trades made by other investors. It also offers trader matches tailored to your trading style and needs.
The web and mobile platforms are user-friendly and include some options for customization. There is no desktop platform.
eToro offers zero-commission stock trading. It enjoys a reputation for being the best social trading platform. Users can only trade in US dollars. Fees for CFD and forex trading are low. Withdrawal fees and inactivity fees apply.
The account opening process is quick and easy, but the quality of customer service is lower than that offered by other similar platforms. You can access customer support via live chat or by completing a web-based ticket.
The social news feed features notifications and active discussions. It has limited educational resources, although demo accounts are offered.
Users can opt into using eToro's safe two-step login process. This offers additional account security.
67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Recommended for: Social copy trading
Founded in 2010, Pepperstone has been quick to adapt to the social copy trading trend, providing plenty of tools for traders to share and mimic trading styles.
With over 60 currency pairs, it offers two account types:
- Standard – The Standard account comes with market average spreads and zero commission
- Razor – This account operates on a commission basis but with exceptionally low spreads
Pepperstone does not have its own platform but offers the complete MT4, MT5 and cTrader solutions, as well as supporting ZuluTrade, Myfxbook and MetaTrader Signals for copy trading.
There is no minimum deposit required but Pepperstone recommends a minimum of £500.
3. CMC Markets
Best for: Advanced cryptocurrency traders
It offers detailed analytical resources and excellent education resources. Also, customer service is good and available via phone, email or live chat.
The web and mobile platforms are visually pleasing, customizable and simple to navigate. A desktop platform is available but is not very easy to use.
CMC Markets is not regulated by the ASIC and it does not have a banking licence. However, all money deposited is stored in a segregated bank account.
4. City Index
Best for: Low forex fees and useful research toolkit
City Index offers straightforward account setup with a low minimum deposit and withdrawal fees.
The web platform is easy to use and customize, although the desktop version is less intuitive. Demo accounts, video guides and tutorials are available for educational purposes.
Phone and chat support is available 24/7. Email support is available, but not as fast.
There are three account types available, depending on your needs:
- Premium trader
- Professional trader
You can choose from a wide range of order types and it is easy to set up alerts and notifications.
Best: Metatrader platform for CFD and forex trading
AvaTrade offers several different trading platforms: WebTrader, MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 and AvaOptions.
The MetaTrader platforms offer technical analysis, charting, market updates and automatic trades.
The platforms are relatively user-friendly, although with limited customizability, and have a reasonable search function. AvaTrade also offers the AvaProtect order type, which is designed to help protect against losses.
Account opening is fast and straightforward, with a low minimum deposit. There is no option for a two-step login. Inactivity fees are higher than other platforms.
Avatrade is regulated by the ASIC.
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
6. IG Group
Best for: Experienced traders looking for a simple platform
This global trading provider offers access to Australian and international shares. It charges low brokerage fees, but there are high forex and stock fees.
User-friendly and easy-to-customize, you can access high-quality educational content. There is also a discussion forum, where you can share knowledge and seek support from your peers.
Account setup is free with a low minimum deposit. However, the setup process and customer support can be slow – it can take up to three days to open an account.
Still, phone, email and live chat support are available. Plus, the deposits and withdrawals processes are simple.
Regulated and authorized by the ASIC, IG keeps all client monies in a segregated bank account.
Best for: Advanced traders who are looking for a professional trading environment
With some of the lowest fees available, this platform brokers in bonds, stocks and cryptocurrency.
It has useful research tools and some of the best educational resources available to registered members.
There are desktop and mobile platforms. Both are known for being difficult to navigate, so Interactive Brokers is not recommended for beginners.
The account opening process is reportedly complicated and there are high monthly inactivity fees.
Interactive Brokers Group (reviewed here) is authorized and regulated by the ASIC.
Users of the mobile app can log in with fingerprint or face recognition. The platform uses secure two-factor login.
XTB is a forex and CFD broker that is suitable for both novice and professional traders. Forex fees are low, but CFD fees are high. There is also an inactivity fee.
The mobile, web and desktop platforms all have a user-friendly interface that is easy to customize. The platforms offer a great search function which includes a range of ways to browse asset categories and product types.
However, there is no option for two-factor login on any of the platforms. You can set up biometric authentication using your fingerprint on devices that support this.
It is a quick and simple process to set up an account online; you will be able to begin trading the same day.
Customer service is fast, reliable and available 24/7. You can contact XTB via email, phone or live chat.
Educational resources include high-quality videos, tutorials and written guidance. They are categorized in a helpful way, allowing users to easily find what they are looking for.
Portfolio and fee reports are clear and easy to understand, with the option to receive daily email reports. XTB’s news feed was awarded Best EMEA FX Forecaster by Bloomberg during 2018.
Best for: Mobile trading
Suitable for novice traders, this is a free, user-friendly mobile trading app.
Revolut does not offer web or desktop platforms.
You will need to have a bank account with Revolut to use the mobile app. Users have access to a limited portfolio with only cryptocurrency and US shares available for trading.
There are no inactivity fees and it is quick and easy to open an account, with no minimum deposit. The mobile app does not offer two-step authentication.
There are limited education and research features. However, the educational information that is available is useful for inexperienced traders.
Analytical information and reporting features are basic. Customer support, accessed by a chatbot, phone or live chat, is very limited. There is no option for email support.
Revolut is authorized by the ASIC.
With so many different trading platforms available, it can be difficult to decide which one to use.
You will need to choose a platform that is capable of managing the trades you intend to make.
In addition to effectively managing your trades, it will need to have an intuitive interface. This will ensure you are comfortable with navigating it in pressurized situations.
Remember, many platforms offer free demo accounts or trial periods. These can be a helpful way to 'try before you buy'.
Take advantage of these offers by using them to test out a few different platforms. You will be able to carry out some practise trading activities and experiment with the features of each trading platform.
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