Before you deposit your capital with a broker that provides a trading platform, you should perform some due diligence to find a platform that suits your needs. To find a platform, you can start with several different online reviews targeting your needs. If you are a beginning trader, you want to make sure that the trading app is easy to navigate and has educational information. If you are an advanced trader, you might want a product that has hundreds of tradable instruments. There are some basic processes you want to make sure the platform you choose provides, as well as, several bells and whistles that will make your experience efficient.
Some of the Basics Should Include:
- The ability to transact a trade
- Balance Information
- Profit and Loss calculations
- Margin capabilities
- Withdraw and Deposit capital
This might seem obvious but if a trading platform does not allow you to place trades, you need to know this in advance. You should be able to quickly find your balance information which tells you how much cash you have on hand as well as the market value of the CFDs that you hold. There should be a profit and loss table that shows you the gains and losses per position as well as your aggregate profit and loss. Most CFD trading platforms provide margin. You should be able to navigate to this section and be able to see how much you are being charged for margin borrowing. Lastly, you should easily be able to deposit and withdraw your capital.
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Some of the Bells and Whistles
- Charting software
- Hundreds of tradable instruments
- News and analysis
- Economic Calendar
- Demo Account
- Education portal
- Mobile application
- Browser-base or Downloadable platform
While some trading platforms will only provide you with the basics, there are several more advanced features that you will be able to find on certain platforms. To get a view of where a CFD has traded in the past, your best guide is a chart of the historical price action. Several trading platforms offer to chart software that will show you daily, weekly, monthly, or even intraday prices.
More advanced traders will want to have the capability to trade whatever is on the move. The more assets your trading platform has available the easier it is to find a security that is trending in a specific direction. Most CFDs change prices when there is new information. Daily news and analysis can help you keep track of what is occurring in the marketplace. Also, some platforms offer an economic calendar. This is a daily calendar that shows you the economic data that is expected to be released each day.
Before you place your first trade, it’s helpful to test-drive the trading platform to see how everything works. A demonstration account allows you to transact trades using demo money that is provided by your broker. You can see how a trade looks when it’s placed in your balance, as well as see your profit and loss. The demo account gives you a real feel for what the platform trading environment will feel like and how you will manage your risk. Additionally, the demo account will allow you to test some of your strategies without taking a real risk.
Some of the better platforms will also offer an education portal. Here you might find articles and videos that describe some of the basics as well as the development of trading strategies. You will also likely find information on risk management techniques.
You also want to make sure that the platform you choose has different choices. Most platforms are available in either downloadable format or browser-based format. Additionally, many provide a mobile app, that allows you to trade on the go. You want to make sure that before you choose a platform that has most of the features you are looking for, which will provide you with the best trading experience.