Best Day Trading Platforms in 2022

Best Day Trading Platforms in 2022

There are many different types of trading strategies, but perhaps the most enticing is day trading. This fast and furious form of trading gives you instant results and you don't need to worry about playing the long game.

Before you start day trading, you need to find the best day trading platform. The best ones are easy to use with fast response times and low commission. Not every trading platform ticks these boxes.

We’ve found the best day trading platforms available right now, while also giving you all the information you need so you know what to look for. Let’s get started by first understanding exactly what day trading is and what you can trade.

6 Best Trading Platforms

Considering fast order execution, low commissions and highly responsive customer-support service, here are our picks of the best trading platforms to start investing with.

1. Interactive Brokers

Pros

  • Regulated
  • Wide range of offerings
  • Low commission
  • Socially responsible
  • 24/5 customer support across multiple channels

Cons

  • No additional platforms
  • Inactivity fees

Interactive Brokers’ (IBKR) flagship trading platform is the Trader Workstation (TWS). This robust trading platform is regarded by many as the best broker for day trading.

In terms of markets and investment options, Interactive Brokers is an industry leader. It supports trading in more than 135 markets across 33 countries. This is by far the most diverse offering in the industry. From a single integrated account, you can invest globally in stocks, bonds, futures, options, currencies and funds.

Interactive Brokers also offers industry-leading commissions. There are two pricing plans: IBKR Pro and IBKR Lite. The Lite clients enjoy $0 commission for US-listed stocks and ETFs. It also offers some of the lowest commissions on stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds and funds. In addition to these, there are no account minimums and no inactivity fees.

IBKR Pro clients get $0.47 per 100 shares price improvement versus the industry. IBKR also gives the lowest margin rates, starting at 1.55% and getting to as low as 0.75%. There are also many no-commission mutual funds.

Interactive Brokers offers quality order execution by providing direct market access. IBKR Pro clients can enjoy the Smart Routing feature that continually scans competing markets, and based on price and other account factors, automatically routes orders directly to the best electronic communication network (ECN).

Pros

  • Supports trading in more than 135 markets across 33 countries
  • Charges low commissions and has low margin rates

Cons

  • Smart Routing software not available for IBKR Lite casual traders

Visit Interactive Brokers

2. TD Ameritrade

Pros

  • No commission on stocks, exchange-traded fund (ETF) or options trade
  • Extensive investment selection
  • Four trading platforms

Cons

  • No fractional shares
  • Size and volume of content can be overwhelming and confusing

TD Ameritrade is easily the best day trading platform for beginners. First, it comes with easy-to-use platforms.

Its ‘thinkorswim’ desktop and web platforms have intuitive interfaces. They also feature pre-configured strategies that allow one-click trading, tools for market scans, onboarding tools like thinkManual and more.

TD Ameritrade gives access to a wide variety of investment options. In terms of commissions and fees, it offers a lot of commission-free trades. While options trades cost only $0.65, the platforms also come with no deposit minimums.

With its vast educational resources, TD Ameritrade is the best platform for someone who wants to learn about trading and the stock market. These resources include an immersive curriculum, articles, videos, webcasts, in-person events and podcasts. TD Ameritrade runs a blog (Ticker Tape) and even publishes its own magazine called thinkMoney.

In terms of order-execution quality, TD Ameritrade uses an advanced routing technology that posts an average execution time of 0.04 seconds and it has some of the best day trading software. It also routes market orders to market centers that offer greater liquidity than that displayed on the quote. This means the majority of orders are filled at a price better than the nationally published quote.

Pros

  • Industry-leading educational materials
  • Paper trading is available

Cons

  • Some fees are higher (for example, penny stock fees)

Visit TD Ameritrade

3. Fidelity

Pros

  • In-depth educational and research resources
  • User-friendly interface
  • Low trading fees
  • No inactivity fee
  • Good customer support
  • Well-established company with extensive history

Cons

  • Doesn't offer cryptocurrency or futures
  • High broker-assisted trade fees

Fidelity is another strong contender for the best trading platform for day trading as it allows trading on a broad range of securities. You can trade stocks, ETFs, bonds and CDs, mutual funds, options and precious metals. It also allows buying fractional shares.

Fidelity has a commitment to execution quality. Seeking the best execution price, this broker works to get traders a better price every time they place a buy or sell order. Fidelity provides direct access routing but only on its Active Trader Pro.

In terms of commissions and fees, Fidelity is an industry leader. While it was already known as a low-commission platform, in 2019 Fidelity went one step further and eliminated commissions for US stocks, ETFs and options.

Fidelity also does not charge transfer fees and account closure fees that other brokers charge. Option trades carry a $0.65 contract charge. Fidelity has a strong reputation when it comes to mutual funds. It offers over 3,700 commission-free mutual funds.

Fidelity is also a fine platform for the beginner trader. With swaths of educational content, you’ll find everything you need to master trading.

Pros

  • Allows buying fractional shares
  • Has a large selection of commission-free mutual funds

Cons

  • Does not offer futures or forex trading

Visit Fidelity

4. Charles Schwab

Pros

  • Regulated by the SEC, FINRA and CFTC
  • Good research and educational resources
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Free stock and ETF trades
  • No inactivity fee
  • No minimum deposit for US clients
  • Desktop, web and mobile platforms

Cons

  • No negative balance protection
  • No forex or cryptocurrency
  • High broker-assisted trade fees

Charles Schwab offers streamlined investing and trading with powerful yet easy-to-use trading platforms. Whether you’re using the Schwab website or its apps, you’ll find robust trading tools and research.

Charles Schwab offers a wide selection of investment options. You can trade stock from 30+ countries, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, options and futures. You can also buy fractional shares but the selection is small. In terms of order execution, it provides a fast, quality service with a high level of transparency.

Charles Schwab does very well in terms of low fees. It charges a 0commissionforstocksandETFs.Theresa0 commission for stocks and ETFs. There's a 0 commission for options, but a $0.65 contract fee applies. There are also thousands of commission-free mutual funds. In addition to these, it gives no trade minimums and no account minimums.

Charles Schwab is possibly the best broker for intraday trading when it comes to customer service. It provides a 24/7 chat service as well as a phone service, and customer support is highly responsive and effective.

Pros

  • Highly responsive customer service
  • Good research content

Cons

  • No cryptocurrency trading

Visit Charles Schwab

5. E*TRADE

Pros

  • Regulated by the SEC and FINRA
  • Commission-free US-listed stocks and ETFs
  • Range of web and mobile platforms
  • User-friendly interface
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Great educational and research resources
  • No minimum deposit

Cons

  • No negative balance protection
  • No forex or cryptocurrencies
  • No fractional shares
  • Options are commission-free but contract fees apply
  • No debit/credit card deposits or withdawals

Founded in 1982, E*TRADE is one of the first online brokers in the US. With powerful trading platforms, quality order execution and a move to commission-free trading, E*TRADE is one of the best trading platforms (especially for day trading) in 2022.

It offers two platforms. There's the beginner-friendly E*TRADE Web that easily allows you to place trades, watch your portfolio and stream real-time quotes and news. There's also the advanced Power E*TRADE platform that offers interactive charts, price alerts and technical analysis. Each of these platforms has dedicated mobile apps.

E*TRADE allows trading of a variety of securities. These include stocks and penny stocks, mutual funds, bonds, CDs, futures and options. You can also trade fractional shares.

It uses advanced order routing technology to seek the best execution available in the market, looking at indices like execution price, speed and price improvement. Over 75% of shares are executed at a price better than the National Best Bid and Offer (NBBO), with an average execution time of 0.09 seconds.

E*TRADE is also commission-free for stocks, ETFs and options trading but a $0.65 per-contract fee applies to options trades.

Another impressive aspect is the amount of educational materials. Whether you are a new or active investor, there are materials and videos to help you hone your trading skills. This broker also boasts responsive phone and chat services that are available round the clock.

Pros

  • Excellent mobile trading platform with powerful tools and research
  • Commission-free stocks, ETFs and options trades

Cons

  • No crypto trading

Visit E*TRADE

Best Day Trading Platform
Best Day Trading Platform

6. Robinhood

Pros

  • No commission fees
  • No inactivity fee
  • No minimum deposit
  • User-friendly interface
  • Trade fractional shares
  • Straightforward, simple option for beginners

Cons

  • Lacks educational and research resources
  • Only available to US clients
  • Unlikely to suit advanced traders
  • Limited product offerings
  • 24/7 customer support only via email and callback request

Robinhood was one of the first brokers to not charge commissions for stocks, ETFs and options trades. Though most brokers have joined the commission-free train, Robinhood still remains very popular as it offers streamlined, easy trading.

In fact, most experts and regulators argue that in trying to be very easy, Robinhood makes risky trading strategies too accessible to inexperienced users.

Robinhood does not support a wide variety of assets. You can only trade stocks, ETFs, options, gold and cryptocurrencies. Though there are no mutual funds, bonds, futures or forex, it’s the best crypto day trading platform. It allows you to trade cryptocurrencies for free, which is rare among stockbrokers, and also offers fractional shares.

Robinhood offers only taxable brokerage accounts. However, this should not be a concern if you use it for day trading and not to hold money for the long term. It offers customer support using social media and an in-app chat feature. There is no phone number to call for assistance, but you can request a callback.

Pros

  • Very easy to use
  • Offers free crypto trading

Cons

  • Education offering is weak compared to other platforms
  • Relatively few investment products (no mutual funds, bonds or futures)

Visit Robinhood

What Is Day Trading?

Day trading is buying or selling of financial assets within a single trading day to profit from the price changes for the said asset within that day.

Typically, trading involves buying assets and holding them. You then wait for as long as possible for an opportune time to sell and make a profit. However, in day trading, it all happens within the same trading day.

The day trader buys assets and makes sure to close all trades within that day. The goal is to take advantage of short-term intraday price changes and end the trading day with a net profit.

As a day trader, the financial instruments you can trade include:

  • Forex – Forex is short for 'foreign exchange'. Forex trading is the changing of one national currency into another at an agreed price.
  • Stocks – These are investments in a company. A singular stock is a “share”. Stock trading is buying a company’s stock, which makes you a part-owner of the company.
  • Cryptocurrency – A cryptocurrency is a digital currency which, like regular currencies, works as a medium of exchange.
  • Futures – These are standardized contracts for assets. They are legal agreements to buy particular assets at a particular price at a specified time in the future.
  • Commodities – These are raw materials or primary products. Commodities that are traded are categorized into hard commodities and soft commodities. Hard commodities are natural resources that are mined or extracted like oil, gold, iron ore, etc. Soft commodities are agricultural products like cocoa, cotton, palm oil, rubber, etc.

What to Look For in a Day Trading Platform

Day trading is characteristically different from regular trading. While day trading focuses on profiting from short-term intraday price movement, regular trading focuses on profiting from long-term price movements. As a result, features suitable for regular trading may not be suitable for day traders.

When looking for a day trading platform, the top considerations should be:

  • Fast execution speed
  • Lowest possible commission
  • High-quality customer service

Fast Execution Speed

Execution speed is the amount of time between when you place a trade and when the broker executes (fills) it.

When you place a trade, you are attempting to buy or sell an asset at a particular price. However, prices change rapidly when trading. So, if a trade you submit is not executed quickly, the price can change to an amount you’re unwilling to buy/sell at.

To take advantage of quick price movements, you need trading platforms with fast execution speed to prevent this from happening.

Slow execution time leads to “slippages” that can result in losses to traders. For example, you place a sell order at a particular price, but before the order is executed, the price has dropped. The slippage will mean loss. You need a platform you can rely on.

Lowest Possible Commission

Trading platforms charge commissions for trades. These commissions make up a large part of trading costs to traders. Generally, commissions add up as you trade so the more you trade, the more commission you’ll have to pay.

Because day trading usually requires placing trades multiple times over the course of the day, commissions can easily add up and significantly eat into your profits. To maximize profits, especially when you place a high number of trades, you’ll want a trading platform with commissions as low as possible.

High-Quality Customer Service

Things do not always go as planned. If things go awry when trading, especially with the short-termism of day trading, you will need a highly responsive customer-support service.

When considering trading platforms, you need to pay attention to the overall effectiveness of their support service. This includes how long it takes the support service to respond to inquiries and how effective their responses are.

Final Thoughts

If you are interested in day trading, take time to research the best platform for your purposes. Brokers vary widely in the types of assets that can be traded, fees and commissions charged, and the level of education tools provided.

Particularly important aspects of good day trading platforms are fast response times, low commission rates and responsive, effective customer service.

Take time to pick the best platform, or platforms, for you, to ensure that you get the best day trading experience.

WikiJob does not provide tax, investment or financial services and advice. The information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal.


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