Finding an online trading platform to rely on these days is rather easy due to the number of available platforms.
There are platforms for all kinds of assets and instruments as well as platforms designed for all sorts of personalities and needs.
However, not all platforms are suitable for all traders, and you will have to do some research to find the best platform for you, and in the following guide, we provide insight into five things you have to consider when picking a trading platform.
1. Availability in Your Region
The number one thing you have to ensure is that the platform and broker you pick is available and registered in your region. That means checking which licenses they’ve obtained from the local regulating body.
In Africa, there are a few agencies that license and regulate online brokers with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) of South Africa being the leading one.
Several of the best online brokers in South Africa are therefore licensed in other African countries, and we suggest you start your search with them.
2. Asset Support
After confirming that the trading platform you’re interested in is legally available in your region, you need to double-check that the assets you want to trade are on offer.
Certain platforms only support forex trading while others have been designed for stock trading.
Then there is a growing number of platforms that can handle a range of different assets, which tends to be the best option.
The reason being that it gives you the option of switching markets when needed.
3. Demo Trading vs. Real Money Trading
A demo account is a replica of a regular trading account but without risk. A majority of today’s online trading platforms come with a demo account where you can trade using virtual money.
These accounts are a great tool for beginners that need practice as well as professionals who often use the demo platforms for strategy development.
It’s also the best way to test a trading platform before signing up and depositing money since most demo accounts are available without a complete account registration.
4. Graphs, Tools, and Features
It is crucial that you review the platform to make sure that it features all the tools you need when trading.
This is not so easy to do as a beginner before you know what tools you’ll be using, but if you have some experience, we suggest you take the platform for a test drive.
There is nothing worse than signing up with a broker, depositing money and starting your first analysis just to realize that the broker doesn’t have the features and graphs you need to trade efficiently. Also, make sure the platform comes in a mobile version.
If you’ve just gotten started with trading and you don’t know what to look for, the best tip is to read reviews about the platform from more experienced traders.
5. Account Sizes and Benefits
As a beginner, you should start off by trading with small amounts of money in order to try and control the risk.
However, as you get better, you’ll probably be inclined to deposit more money to your account. Therefore the platform you use needs support for large deposits, preferably without fees.
Many brokers today even give you exclusive deals with large deposits and often provide several types of accounts where the big players can enjoy better spreads, lower fees, and even personal account managers that can help you maximize your opportunities.